Barclays creates role to lead transformations

Barclays Bank has appointed a group chief operating officer (COO) to lead it through transformations, including major IT investments

Barclays Bank has appointed a group chief operating officer (COO) to lead it through transformations, including major IT investments.

The bank is investing hundreds of millions of pounds in technology as part of its Transform programme and faces separating its investment and retail banks as a result of government legislation instructing banks to “ringfence” risky investment operations.

Jonathan Moulds has been appointed to the position.

Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins said the bank had made good progress on its transformation project over the last two years, but the group COO will make sure the bank stays on track – and accelerate it where possible. 

“There are multiple major change programmes in flight across the group, designed to achieve our ambitious goals, and which will in turn help to drive the sustainable returns our shareholders deserve. A group COO will give us additional leadership bandwidth and capability.”

Cloud banking innovation

Barclays is an example of a large traditional player that has used cloud computing to create new services. Led by former IT head Shaygan Kheradpir, the bank launched its Pingit mobile phone payment app, which sits in a private cloud rather than using a website that sits on top of the bank's core IT infrastructure.

Kheradpir left Barclays in November 2013. His replacement, Michael Harte – who joined from Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) – transformed the CBA into a digital powerhouse, including moving its online banking service into the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud in 2012.

Ringfencing investment operations

Barclays and other UK banks have had to submit their plans to ringfence investment banking operations.

The rule, introduced in 2011, followed Independent Banking Commission (IBC) recommendations, which were drawn up after the retail operations of UK banks suffered in the 2008 financial crisis. 

The IBC looked at ringfencing in large banks. This means keeping the retail bank separate from risk-taking investment operations, such that the investment bank could fail without jeopardising the retail bank and its customers. Ringfencing is seen by many in the financial sector as less harsh than a complete separation.

For IT departments, this could mean individual systems will require separation, with entire IT operations and outsourcing agreements facing restructuring. Barclays is one of the most affected banks because of its significant investment banking operations.

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