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Monday, 11 December 2017

Who's in the frame for Tom King's job?

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  • keith mullin

EVERYONE IS ALL over the Tom King story as the head of Barclays’ CIB finally announces his departure. Of course this has been out there for the best part of a year so it’s hardly news. The IB community loves nothing more than a mischievous bout of reckless speculation so if an opportunity presents itself to engage in wild conjecture about who might take over, you’ve gotta take it.

We gather the Barclays board is favouring an external candidate: even better because there’s been a lot of fluidity in the industry as banks restructure, slim and re-think, and senior execs either have faces that fit, faces that don’t fit or who take the “discretion-is-the better-part-of-valour” approach and make tactical decisions about where their futures lie and walk.

There’s a ton of experienced talent looking for that next opportunity. You could certainly argue that fixing Barclays’ IB is a challenge. But that might present itself as an attractive proposition to someone, just as it did to Jes Staley at group level.

The most obvious place to look for potential candidates is JP Morgan. Will Jes continue his quest to get the band back together? From what I can gather from pieced-together chit-chat, he doesn’t quite see what the problem is raiding his old shop so he may or may not take advice from those who give him a steer to stop stalking people coming out of 270 Park Avenue or 25 Bank Street.

Daniel Pinto is an obvious name, though. He’s sitting at the helm of the world’s number one IB by wallet and is also EMEA CEO. Then again, there’s Staley’s answer. Why would he move? Beyond the stature of running JPM’s investment bank, Pinto also has a stratospherically wondrous salary.

JPM’s 2015 proxy statement hasn’t yet been posted but between 2013 and 2014, JPM increased his salary 10-fold. Yep, in a fine retort to the EU and its pesky compensation caps (but less of a triumph of good governance), JPM upped London-based Pinto’s salary from US$750K (the same as all of the group’s named executive officers other than Jamie Dimon) to a cool US$7.42m of his total comp of US$17m for that year. Jes: you can’t afford him!

Had he been younger, Emilio Saracho might have had a shot. But the Spaniard turned 60 last year (although that might make him a great potential Barclays CIB chairman). Saracho was given a vice-chairman client role at JPM last year. He was previously deputy CEO to Pinto and the two were previously co-heads of European investment banking. In fact, just after Staley had been appointed to run JPM’s CIB in 2009, he appointed Saracho as head of European IB. The two had got to know each other when Saracho ran private banking and Staley was in asset management.

And what about the larger-than-life Viswas Raghavan? Vis has had more iterations at JPM than you can shake a stick at. He took Saracho’s position as deputy CEO of EMEA last year on top of his day job as head of banking in EMEA (covering investment banking, corporate banking and transaction banking). He’s previously been global head of ECM and of international capital markets (debt and equity) and has ridden the waves while consistently rising up the ranks. But how much further can he climb? I’ve no clue how well he gets on with Staley but if I were a bookie, I’d be posting good odds.

I wonder if Jeff Urwin might be getting itchy feet. DB’s CIB head – and a Brit to boot – might well argue that he was sold a pup when Anshu prised him out of … JPM. A long shot, I’d say. But you never know.

AWAY FROM JPM, how’s this for some deep speculation: the experienced and highly regarded former Goldman man Alasdair Warren thinks twice about his decision last year to join Deutsche Bank as head of European CIB (he hasn’t started yet), backs out of the deal he’s signed with Urwin and decides Barclays offers better upside as John Cryan battles to keep the the good ship DB afloat.

How about another perfect candidate on paper and currently seeking opportunities: the inimitable Raj Dhanda? The high-flying and affable 26-year former Morgan Stanley man, once seen as a potential successor to James Gorman, quit the other week.

He had switched from co-running capital markets last year to take up a position in wealth management as head of investment products and services. But Greg Fleming’s recent departure after Colm Kelleher was made sole president of the firm left him out in the cold as Andy Saperstein and Shelley O’Connor were tapped to run the division while Ted Pick had kind of been given the nod as Kelleher’s man on the institutional securities side.

What about Greg Fleming himself? One of the industry’s most seasoned executives is currently also seeking opportunities. Speculation is that he’ll be taking over as CEO of Bank of New York Mellon. He’s made no secret of the fact that he harbours ambitions of being a bank CEO so that kind of puts him out of Staley’s reach.

Last mention: how about Jim Amine at Credit Suisse? Given where CEO Tidjane Thiam is taking CS (Asia/EM private bank and gutting the investment bank), you’ve got to wonder how attractive a proposition that is for the firm’s suave global head of investment banking and capital markets.

So there you have it … and you just know it’ll almost certainly be someone completely different. But I’ve got plenty more names up my sleeve. Where do I send the executive search invoice, Jes?

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