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Barclays appoints new CEO amid ongoing scandals

The U.K.’s Barclays Bank appointed Antony Jenkins, the head of its retail and business banking division, as its new chief executive Thursday as the bank continues to grapple with a number of scandals.

Jenkins succeeds Bob Diamond, an American banker who resigned in early July after an alleged interest-rate rigging scandal resulted in a $450 million payout by Barclays to settle accusations brought by U.K. and U.S. regulators.

“We have made serious mistakes in recent years and clearly failed to keep pace with our stakeholders' expectations,” Jenkins said in a statement.

“We have an obligation to all of those stakeholders -- customers, clients, shareholders, colleagues and broader society -- and a unique opportunity to restore Barclays reputation by making it the ‘go to’ bank in all of our chosen markets,” he added. “That journey will take time, we have much to do, and I look forward to getting started immediately.”

The appointment of Jenkins, who is British and associated with the retail side of the bank, is a clear sign that Barclays is looking to distance itself from the rate scandal that was seen as a consequence of Diamond’s expansion into more risky investment banking.

Diamond turned Barclays into a major player on Wall Street, but some British regulators and politicians had blamed the bank’s regulatory lapses on a culture of excessive risk-taking they say Diamond introduced.

Jenkins’ appointment raises questions about the future of the investment banking arm at the bank, and is a sign that the bank is looking to return to its retail banking roots amid increased political pressure.

On Wednesday, Barclays said the U.K.’s fraud prosecutors have started a criminal investigation into payments between Barclays and Qatar Holding, a unit of the Qatar Investment Authority. The probe adds to a continuing regulatory investigation into dealings between the two parties.

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