Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Diamond steps down as CEO of Barclays

The news broke that Barclays CEO Robert Diamond, the great engineer of the banks investment banking operation, will step down with immediate effect as pressure from the political arena mounted in the middle of a LIBOR fixing scandal as I walked back to my office in downtown Singapore to grab a secure flash drive from the corporate safe for a late meeting that was scheduled as I walked to my car. Last week Barclays was ordered to pay a 290 million pound fine.

My girlfriend will not be happy as I have to reschedule our Skype date yet again due to business reasons, but I rush pass the heavy security in the lobby, greet the guards and speed through the security process. When I joined the firm I did not expect the heavy security measures, but then again I did not expect to work in global finance at the level I am right now.

As I passed the biometric security system I call my girlfriend to break the bad news, I was looking forward to relax from a long day on the trading floor. As I wait for her answer her phone I am thinking about the circumstances that lead to the departure of the 60 year old Diamond who does have a rather interesting name to be employed in the great world of international finance. He joined the bank in 1996 and now the board decided to drop him, offer him as the scape goat and engage into damage control.

Could that happened to me? Could I ever be made the scapegoat if something goes wrong?

My girlfriend picked up after only three rings, expecting bad news she told me not to worry about it. I knew she said that because she did not want me to feel bad, but I did. I was extremely happy to hear her voice. She relaxes me. She is my safe harbor in rough see and I am deeply in love with her. In a few weeks she will come and visit me. She would have been here sooner, but her agency called her for a model shoot in Colombia. As we end our quick phone conversation I walk down the wide corridor on the 58th floor to my office.

Diamond stepped on many toes and after he lost a takeover battle for ABN Amro, he steered the bank to buy assets of bankrupt Lehman Brothers. RBS snatched up ABN and was forced into bailouts. At least Diamond managed to keep Barclays away from begging to survive. He fought regulators and government officials as best as he could and I respect him for that.

I enter my office and walk towards my desk. I look outside into the beautiful skyline of Singapore in the early evening. I place my hand on the scanner and a small box opens with an electronic key-card for the corporate safe. I grab my access card and head towards the vault. As my office door looks automatically behind me and I walk towards the vault I hear a noise in the kitchen area. Nobody is supposed to be here and who would want to be at the office one day before Independence Day anyways?

Maybe I just imagined it. I keep walking towards the heavily guarded vault. One more corner and I will be greeted by four security guards and more security measures before I can get the flash drive I need for my meeting. Top Security I say to myself and laugh as I suddenly feel a sharp pain in the back of my head and collapse. 

Photo Credit: The picture in the top left corner was downloaded for free use at freedigitalphotos.net.


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