Shareholders in Barclays Bank have been advised to abstain when voting on the reappointment of chief executive Jes Staley because he is being investigated over efforts made to reveal the identity of a whistleblower.
Proxy adviser ISS issued the advice to shareholders this week ahead of the bank’s annual general meeting on 10 May.
In a statement reported by the Financial Times, ISS said: “Given his personal involvement and accountability in this matter, and given the importance of his role as the group CEO, an abstention on his re-election is considered appropriate.”
Staley issued an apology earlier this month after he was reprimanded by the bank’s board and saw his pay cut. The board continued to back Staley as chief executive.
Board chairman John McFarlane said: “Taking into account both the circumstances of this matter and his otherwise exemplary record since joining Barclays, including contributing significantly to improvements in Barclays culture and controls, Jes continues to have the board’s unanimous confidence and it will support his re-appointment at Barclays annual general meeting on 10 May 2017.”
Investigations of Staley’s behaviour are now underway by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.
Barclays said it learned of Staley’s attempt to identify the whistleblower earlier this year. His actions concerned two letters written about the recruitment of a senior employee in early 2016.
The anonymous letters, one to the board and another to a senior executive, raised concerns about the employee’s behaviour at a previous employer, and Staley’s role in dealing with the issue while working there. They also raised questions about the recruitment process in bringing the employee to Barclays.