Barclays boss Jes Staley to defend his bank from siege by corporate raider Edward Bramson at meetings in Davos this week
Barclays boss Jes Staley will defend his bank from a siege by corporate raider Edward Bramson at meetings in Davos this week.
Staley – who is in the Swiss resort until Friday for the annual gathering of the global elite – will hit out at Bramson’s claims that Barclays is being held back by its prized investment bank.
Staley, 62, will meet shareholders and clients in Davos, with Bramson’s intentions expected to be a key topic.
Under pressure: Jes Staley will meet shareholders and clients in Davos, with Bramson’s intentions expected to be a key topic
The lender is battling to fend off an attack from Bramson, who is trying to force himself onto its board and wants a massive overhaul.
Sources stressed Staley will not be using his trip solely to marshal support against Bramson, adding Davos is primarily an opportunity to meet key customers. But it is thought he will take the opportunity to mount a robust defence of the bank’s strategy.
New Yorker Bramson controls a 5.51 per cent stake in Barclays.
He is expected to demand a shareholder vote on whether he should be appointed to the bank’s board at its annual meeting in spring.
The 68-year-old has been particularly critical of the lender’s investment bank, claiming it is a drag on profits that limits the more successful consumer operation.
Bramson’s investment firm Sherborne – whose backers include large City firms such as Aviva and Fidelity International – makes its money by identifying under-performing businesses, investing in them and trying to force their management to change tack.
If Bramson gets a chairman or executive job at a target company, the fees earned by Sherborne increase dramatically. It has been estimated that the fund could make as much as £100m from Barclays if Bramson manages to fight his way into a senior job on the board, although sources close to Sherborne have denied this.
One large Barclays shareholder said that although the raider has set out a clear list of problems with Barclays, he has not done enough to say what the solutions are.
There are also fears that Bramson and Staley could not both sit on the board together, given how different their plans are for Barclays.
Staley has reportedly told friends he would quit if ordered to cut back the division.
A trader who formerly worked at JP Morgan in Wall Street, Staley has championed the division since taking charge in 2015, hiring 55 managing directors and boosting morale, and made the investment bank a core part of his strategy to build a transatlantic lender.
Barclays declined to comment.