Belfast Telegraph

Sir Ian Cheshire to reduce other commitments after taking Barclays role

Barclays has confirmed the new chairman of its ring-fenced bank, Sir Ian Cheshire, will cut the number of his boardroom roles amid shareholder worries over his commitments.

The lending giant said Sir Ian, who joined the board at the beginning of the month, would reduce the number of his directorships by the end of September to meet regulator rules.

It comes after shareholder advisory group Glass Lewis dealt a blow to Barclays by recommending investors vote against his re-election at the bank's upcoming annual general meeting.

Glass Lewis warned his commitments may stop him from "dedicating the time necessary to fulfil the responsibilities required of a director" at Barclays.

Barclays said: "In response to queries from some shareholders regarding the time commitments of Sir Ian Cheshire, Barclays confirms that plans are in place for Sir Ian to reduce the number of other directorships held.

"Sir Ian was appointed to the board of Barclays on 3 April 2017 and has committed to Barclays and its regulators that he will reduce his other directorships by September 2017."

Sir Ian acts as a director in five public companies, including as chairman at department store chain Debenhams and senior independent director at Costa Coffee owner Whitbread.

He was appointed in February as chairman designate of the Barclays UK ring-fenced bank, which is expected to be fully set up by next Easter.

The announcement comes as Barclays boss Jes Staley is also under shareholder pressure, with another advisory group urging investors to abstain from backing his re-election at the AGM after it emerged that he was being investigated for breaking rules designed to protect whistleblowers' anonymity.

The Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority announced earlier this month that Mr Staley will be investigated and have his pay docked over governance failings that saw him attempt to identify a whistleblower.

Institutional Shareholder Services said that, given Mr Staley's " personal involvement and accountability in this matter, and given the importance of his role as the group chief executive, an abstention on his re-election is considered appropriate".

Barclays reports first-quarter figures on Friday and is set to hold its AGM on May 10.

It is understood Sir Ian is planning to drop his role on the board at Whitbread to ease shareholder and regulatory concerns over so-called "over-boarding".

It is an issue that has come to the fore recently, with fellow bank HSBC last week saying non-executive director Paul Walsh, the former chief executive of drinks maker Diageo, will step down from its board with immediate effect to focus on his other commitments.