Stephen Jones has stepped down as chief executive of UK Finance following alleged sexist, derogatory comments he made about financier Amanda Staveley during the last recession.
Jones resigned after a court heard he made “deeply unpleasant personal comments” about Staveley in October 2008 when he was managing director of Barclays Bank, which was battling to survive the financial crisis.
The court case centres around Staveley suing Barclays for £1.6bn.
The financier claimed she missed out on up to £1.6bn in fees after Barclays unfairly favoured other investors over her firm, PCP Capital Partners, by offering £346m in secret fees to investors from Qatar, as the bank attempted to raise £7.3bn to avoid a government bailout.
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Staveley accused Barclay’s top bosses of “sexism and misogyny” at the time. However, the bank branded her claims for damages as “opportunistic and speculative.”
This is an embarrassment for UK Finance after Jones was in charge of measures to repair the image of the banking sector. During his time as chief executive of the trade body, which represents over 250 financial institutions, he backed gender equality initiatives.
This included The Women in Finance Charter, promoting gender diversity in finance.
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“I have apologised to Ms Staveley and to my colleagues for the comments made in 2008 and feel at this time it is right I step down from my role at UK Finance,” said Jones.
“I am very proud of what we have achieved since the formation of UK Finance in 2017.
“Our current work with the banking and finance industry, government, business and consumer groups and regulators to coordinate the provision of financial support during the Covid-19 crisis shows UK Finance at its best.
“I am confident UK Finance will continue to be an effective advocate and agent for the banking and finance industry and would like to thank all my colleagues and the board for their commitment to build an effective and appropriate voice.”
“Stephen has rightly acknowledged that the comments he made in 2008 were inappropriate and do not meet the standards expected of leaders in our industry,” said Bob Wigley, chairman of UK Finance.
“He has characteristically taken a difficult personal decision in the interest of UK Finance and the industry and we accept his decision.
“I and the board of UK Finance want to thank Stephen for all of his vision and hard work in building UK Finance over the last three years. His commitment and passion to raise standards across the industry and ensure our work was always focussed on meeting the needs of consumers and businesses has never been more apparent than in the way UK Finance and our members have responded to the challenges of recent months.”
The trial continues.