Updated at 1157 EAT on Monday 1st Nov 2021
Barclays chief executive Jes Staley has stepped down following an investigation into how he described his relationship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The UK financial watchdog and the Bank of England have been investigating Mr Staley’s links to the dead financier.
Barclays said it had been made aware of the conclusions of that probe on Friday and that Mr Staley would contest them.
The bank said it and Mr Staley decided he should stand down but Barclays said it was “disappointed at this outcome”.
A statement from Barclays said: “It should be noted that the investigation makes no findings that Mr Staley saw, or was aware of, any of Mr Epstein’s alleged crimes, which was the central question underpinning Barclays’ support for Mr Staley following the arrest of Mr Epstein in the summer of 2019.”
It added that the regulatory process had still to run its full course and it was not appropriate for Barclays to comment further on the preliminary conclusions.
Mr Staley will receive 12 months pay, totalling £2.4m, as well as his pension allowance of £120,000 for the year, and any other benefits.
Who is Jes Staley?
James Edward “Jes” Staley is an American banker, and the group chief executive (CEO) of Barclays. He will step down as CEO in November 2021, after resigning due to his links with sex offender and financier Jeffrey Epstein. Staley has nearly four decades of experience in banking and financial services. He spent 34 years at J.P. Morgan‘s investment bank, ultimately becoming CEO. In 2013 he moved to BlueMountain Capital, and in December 2015, became CEO of Barclays.
Staley was born on December 27, 1956 in Boston, Massachusetts. His father, Paul R. Staley, was president and CEO of PQ Corporation, a chemicals company, who eventually settled the family outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His grandfather, Edward Staley, was the top executive of W.T. Grant at the time when the company filed for bankruptcy in 1976. His brother, Peter Staley, is an AIDS activist.
In 1979, after graduation, Staley joined Morgan Guaranty Trust Co. of New York. From 1980 to 1989, he worked in the bank’s Latin America division, where he served as head of corporate finance for Brazil and general manager of the company’s Brazilian brokerage firm. In the early 1990s, Staley became one of the founding members of J.P. Morgan’s equities business and ran the Equity Capital Market and Syndicate groups. In 1999, he became head of the bank’s Private Banking division which, under his leadership, improved profitability threefold during two years. In 2001, he was promoted to CEO of J.P. Morgan Asset Management and ran the division until 2009. During his tenure, J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s client assets expanded from $605 billion to nearly $1.3 trillion. Staley has also been noted for his work on J.P. Morgan’s strategic investment in Highbridge Capital Management by being named as one of the twenty hedge fund superstars at J.P. Morgan. His contribution to J.P. Morgan becoming a LGBT friendly company was also recognized. In 2009, Staley was promoted to Chief Executive of the Investment Bank. In this position, Staley was responsible for overseeing and coordinating the firm’s international efforts across all lines of business.
In 2013, Staley left J.P. Morgan after more than 30 years to join BlueMountain Capital as a managing partner. In May 2015, he was elected to the board of directors of the Swiss global financial services company UBS as a new member of the Human Resources and Compensation Committee and of the Risk Committee. However, on October 28, 2015, it was announced that Staley would become group chief executive of Barclays, effective December 1, 2015. To avoid any conflicts of interest, UBS accepted his resignation from all of his functions at UBS with immediate effect.
In 2015, Staley spent £6.4m buying 2.8m shares in Barclays at 233p. Barclays has a policy that directors should own shares worth four times their salaries, which Staley achieved, as his salary amounted to £1.2m. However, his total remuneration package, including his salary, a fixed pay allowance to avoid an EU cap on bonuses, annual bonuses of up to £2.1m and a long-term incentive plan of £3.2m, was worth £10m in 2015. In March 2016, he gave his vision for the future of Barclays’ investment bank, although the changes he has brought until then have not been well received by the markets.
Staley is a Bowdoin College trustee, serves on the boards of the Institute of International Finance, United States-China Business Council, and is a member of the advisory board of the American Museum of Natural History.
In 2016, Staley’s attempts to discover a whistleblower‘s identity were investigated for over a year by British regulators, an investigation which was one of the first tests of the UK’s “Senior managers regime“, intended to make high-level banking officials personally accountable. On April 20, 2018, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulatory Authority announced that Staley could stay on as CEO, though he would have to pay a fine. Staley was fined £642,430 by the FCA and Barclays said it would cut £500,000 of his bonus over the matter. In May 2017, “email prankster” James Lintonbegan his spree with Staley pranked with an acrostic alluding to the whistleblower affair.
In February 2020, the FCA announced an investigation into whether Staley was “fit and proper” to lead Barclays, due to concerns over his previous disclosures of his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. Staley told Bloomberg TV that “The investigation is actually focused on transparency, and whether I was transparent and open with the bank and with the board with respect to my relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.” Staley told colleagues that he expects to leave Barclays by the end of 2021. On the 1st November 2021, Jes Staley announced his departure from Barclays, as a result of his associations with Jeffrey Epstein.
Jeffrey Epstein emails
On October 24, 2015, the Daily Mail published an article saying they had seen emails by Jeffrey Epstein indicating he had “began arguing for Mr Staley in financial circles in the summer of 2012” while Barclays was searching for a new CEO. The Times reported that Barclays denied being lobbied by Epstein on behalf of Staley, and that Staley is said to have been unaware that Epstein was backing him for the role.
Staley met his wife Debora Nitzan Staley soon after starting work in South America, “I was Unitarian Boston American and she was Jewish Brazilian São Paulo … I was her parents’ worst nightmare.” The family has two daughters, and maintains residences on Park Avenue, New York City, and Southampton, New York. Staley is a Boston Red Sox fan and a devoted Democrat who holds fundraisers. In the past, he has donated money to the Democratic Senatorial Committee. Staley has also reportedly been a big advocate for diversity since discovering that his brother Peter had been diagnosed with HIV. He helped push the diversity agenda at J.P. Morgan.
As of May 2017, Staley was backing his brother-in-law Jorge Nitzan in a dispute that Aceco, a Brazilian technology company founded by the Nitzan family, have with the private equity firm KKR, also an important client of Barclays. In turn, KKR stopped inviting Barclays to participate in its deal making.