Barclays poaches JP Morgan executive as new finance chief

LONDON (REUTERS) - Barclays has poached JP Morgan executive Tushar Morzaria to become its new finance director, offering him up to 6 million pounds (S$11.4 million) in annual pay and awards to help the bank recover from a series of scandals.

Mr Morzaria faces a challenging job. Barclays has pledged to improve relations with regulators and raise standards at the bank, shortcomings exposed when it was fined US$450 million (S$567 million) in June 2012 for rigging the Libor global benchmark interest rate.

Its capital strength is also under scrutiny. It is in talks with the Bank of England over how to reduce leverage after being warned last month it had to do so. Barclays said that could force it to cut lending to British households and firms, but the central bank said it would not allow that.

Mr Morzaria is chief financial officer of corporate and investment banking (CIB) at JP Morgan Chase, where he has spent most of his career.

JP Morgan praised Mr Morzaria's "analytical ability, combined with his calm, steady demeanour" and said it would appoint his successor in the coming days.

The move ends Barclays' lengthy search for a finance director, after it said in February that Mr Chris Lucas would step down after six years in the role.

Mr Morzaria, 44, will be paid a salary of 800,000 pounds and can earn an annual bonus of up to 2 million pounds and a long-term share award of up to 3.2 million. The long-term award would only start paying out in five years' time.

He is expected to begin work at Barclays this autumn but there will be a lengthy handover period. He will join the board at the start of next year and take over as finance director when Lucas retires at the end of February.

He was born in Uganda and moved to Britain in 1971. The British citizen - who graduated in computer science and accounting from Manchester University and lists running and cycling as his interests - is a qualified chartered accountant.

His bosses at JP Morgan said in a memo to staff seen by Reuters that Mr Morzaria had been "an exceptional partner" who had been instrumental in the bank's alignment of its commercial and investment banking arms, particularly around managing expenses, capital and liquidity.

He worked at JP Morgan from 1995 to 2002 and after three years at Credit Suisse he rejoined the US bank and became CFO of its investment bank in 2010. Before JP Morgan he worked at SG Warburg and Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte.

Mr Lucas has been finance director for a tough six years and last year was particularly difficult. He is one of four current and former employees being investigated by UK authorities regarding a capital injection by Qatar in 2008.

The bank has also been accused in recent years of aggressive interpretation of regulations, paying staff too much, and it was found to have mis-sold products to millions of customers - leading to it paying billions of pounds in compensation.

Mr Lucas has had health problems and although that has not affected his ability to do his job, it influenced his decision to retire, a person familiar with the matter said in February.

He is the only Barclays executive director still in their post after the bank was fined over the Libor rate rigging.

Mr Antony Jenkins replaced Bob Diamond as CEO and Mr David Walker replaced Mr Marcus Agius as chairman, and they have overhauled senior management and promised to drive through a major change in culture and standards across the bank's 140,000 workforce.

Mr Lucas was paid 1.9 million pounds last year, after foregoing any annual bonus. He was paid almost 4 million pounds in both 2011 and 2010, including long-term awards.

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