James (Jes) Staley
Former Barclays CEO
Net worth: Over $5.4 million
Barclays CEO Jes Staley resigned November 1, 2021, amid an investigation by U.K. regulators into his relationship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein was a client of Staley's former employer, J.P. Morgan.
Barclays officials announced Nov. 1 that Staley was stepping down as the CEO effective immediately after the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority released a preliminary conclusion on its investigation into Staley’s relationship with Epstein.
Epstein, an American financier, was arrested in 2019 for child sex trafficking. He committed suicide in jail before he would face the charges in court.
The U.K. watchdog group started its probe into Staley’s relationship with Epstein in February 2020. According to reports, Epstein was a client of Staley’s previous employer, J.P. Morgan, and he had dealings with him there. His relationship with Epstein ended when Staley joined Barclay’s in 2015.
“Obviously, I thought I knew him well, and I didn't. For sure, with hindsight with what we know now, I deeply regret having any relationship with Jeffrey." Staley said in a 2020 interview with the BBC.
Staley plans to contest the investigation findings.
Staley plans to contest the conclusions of the investigation, Barclays said in a statement. The investigation “makes no findings that Mr. Staley saw, or was aware of, any of Mr. Epstein's alleged crimes,” the bank said in a statement.
“The Board is disappointed at this outcome. Mr. Staley has run the Barclays Group successfully since December 2015 with real commitment and skill. Supported by the senior team, which he largely helped build and on whom the Barclays Group will be relying for the future, Mr. Staley clarified the Barclays Group's strategy, transformed its operations and materially improved its results,” bank officials stated.
Staley will continue to be paid for a year.
Despite his departure, Staley is still entitled to receive his current fixed annual salary of about $3.2 million in cash and stock, pension allowance of about $164,000, and other benefits until the end of October 2022, the bank said.
Staley spent 30 years working for J.P. Morgan until he joined Barclays as CEO in October 2015. According to the Economic Research Institute, Staley is the highest-paid executive at Barclays and he earned over $5.4 million in total compensation for 2020.
When Staley joined Barclays, he emphasized his respect for “the critical role which regulators play in our industry,” CNBC reported. However, Staley has had a contentious relationship with regulators since then. In 2018, he was fined $870,000 by U.K. financial regulators for trying to identify a whistleblower who sent letters criticizing Barclays, CNBC reports.
Who will replace Staley?
Upon announcing Staley’s departure, Barclays named head of global markets C.S. Venkatakrishnan (known as Venkat) to the CEO role. Barclay’s board picked Venkat as a candidate for the role over a year ago when the investigation started.
“The Board has long been confident in Venkat's capabilities to run the Barclays Group and is delighted to have such a strong internal candidate. The Board is confident that Barclays under his leadership will continue its strategic direction and improve performance in line with the progress of recent years,” the company said in a statement.