One down and another just gone. Monday morning saw the resignation of Barclays Chairman Marcus Agius, following news of the Libor rate scandal. “The buck stops here” Agius said. Exit stage right. Oddly enough, his number two, CEO Bob Diamond, remained standing. By Tuesday, Diamond’s resignation had been accepted.
Up until then, Diamond apparently felt the buck didn’t really stop with him. While suitably contrite, with public apologies and regrets that made it clear that rate fixing failed to meet Barclays’ standards, there was no hint of a resignation. Hell no! Dismissing any suggestion that he was about to lose his position, Diamond told the media he wasn’t going anywhere. Two days later, he was out of a job.
Diamond’s headstrong comments over the weekend pushed forward the likelihood of a resignation. After all, if the Chairman had resigned, why didn’t the CEO, who is in charge of day-to-day business? Given that Diamond has previously fought PR clouds over his compensation and autocratic style, this unlucky third strike was bound to have him preparing the cardboard box for his belongings.
The PR Verdict: “F” (Full Fiasco) for Bob Diamond. Telling the media and staff he had no intention of leaving his post wasn’t his call. An oddly cavalier declaration when his Chairman had decided to take his public lumps.
PR Takeaway: Is it the role of a CEO to decide if he should keep his job or not? Remember, each person is only a guest in his or her position, and the invitation can be pulled at any time. Better to have deferred the issue to the Board and say that the matter of continued service was a decision for them. Diamond unwittingly gave everyone from the UK Prime Minister on down the opportunity to cry foul. With little incentive for powerful stakeholders to come out in support of Diamond’s tenure, his remaining days were nothing more than a countdown to the inevitable.
Should Agius and Diamond have resigned simultaneously? Would that have been the better PR tactic? Give us your PR Verdict below.
We will be back July 5 with a new PRV. Happy July 4 to all our readers