Barclays share price surges as group appoints Rothschild veteran as new chair

Nigel Higgins to succeed John McFarlane

Barclays share price surges as group appoints Rothschild veteran as new chair

Shares in Barclays (LON:BARC) have climbed higher this morning as the group announced that it had appointed Nigel Higgins, deputy chairman of Rothschild & Co, to succeed its chairman John McFarlane, who is due to step down next year. The news comes after it emerged over the summer that Sherborne Investors, the vehicle of activist investor Edward Bramson, was in talks with the blue-chip lender over the search of a new chair.

As of 08:52 GMT, Barclays’ share price had added 1.20 percent to 177.64p, outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.65 percent higher at 7,160.96 points. The group’s shares have given up just under four percent of their value over the past year, as compared with about a 5.2-percent drop in the Footsie.

Barclays appoints new chair

Barclays announced in a statement last night that John McFarlane will retire as Chairman of Barclays in May to be succeeded by Nigel Higgins, subject to regulatory approval by the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority. Higgins is currently Deputy Chairman of Rothschild & Co, having been Managing Partner and co-chairman of the Group’s Executive Committee until September 1. The Times noted in its coverage of the news that he is the first person outside the Rothschild family to lead the group.

“In Nigel Higgins we have found an ideal candidate,” Crawford Gillies, the Senior Independent Director who led the process to appoint a successor to McFarlane, commented in the statement.

Analysts weigh in on McFarlane

Proactive Investors quoted Liberum as commenting that McFarlane’s  tenure to date has “been a miserable failure” referring to his commitment in 2015 to double Barclays’ share price in three years.

“However, operationally  there has been reasonable progress, with a significant strengthening of the capital position and improvement in profitability, although the latter is not yet enough to push annual returns sustainably above the cost of equity,” the analysts pointed out.

As of 09:03 GMT, Friday, 02 November, Barclays share price is 178.38p.

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