Barclays’ (LON:BARC) chief executive could be in breach of his contract for trying to uncover the identity of an anonymous whistleblower, The Times has revealed. The news comes after it emerged this week that he was under investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) for breaking rules designed to protect whistleblowers.
Barclays’ share price has fallen deep into negative territory in today’s session, having lost 1.24 percent to 211.05p as of 10:08 BST, underperforming the broader London market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently 0.55 percent worse off at 7,308.85 points. The group’s shares have gained just under 27 percent over the past year, but have given up some five percent in the year-to-date.
The Times reported this morning that a copy of Jes Staley’s contract, seen by the newspaper, made clear that he could be fired on the grounds of bringing the bank into disrepute, breaching its internal code of conduct and breaking confidentiality rules. According to the document which the group’s CEO signed in 2015, Staley is legally bound by clauses which could be activated by the regulatory investigations into his attempts to uncover the author of letters criticising the appointment of a senior employee at the bank.
Staley is bound by the Bank of England and the FCA code of practice, with any breach potentially opening him up to ‘termination of your employment’. Another section of his contract meanwhile requires him to never ‘do anything to harm’ the interests of Barclays.
“If the bank were minded to dismiss Mr Staley, there are a number of potential grounds upon which they could do so,” Richard Nicolle, employment partner at Stewarts Law who reviewed extracts of the contract, told The Times.
Barclays said earlier this week that it would issue a formal written reprimand to its chief executive and that it would make “a very significant compensation adjustment” to his variable award.