Marcus Agius, chairman of Barclays, resigned on Monday, less than a week after the big British bank agreed to pay $450 million to settle accusations that it had tried to manipulate key interest rates to benefit its own bottom line.
The resignation comes as Barclays tries to limit fallout from the case, which is part of a broad investigation into how big banks set certain rates that affect borrowing costs for consumers and companies. Since striking a deal with American and British authorities last Wednesday, the Barclays management team has faced increasing pressure from politicians and shareholders to take action.
“Last week’s events have dealt a devastating blow to Barclays’ reputation,” Mr. Agius said in a statement. “As chairman, I am the ultimate guardian of the bank’s reputation. Accordingly, the buck stops with me and I must acknowledge responsibility by standing aside.”
Mr. Agius, the first casualty, will remain as chairman until a successor has been found. Michael Rake, a senior independent director on the Barclays board and a former chairman of the accounting firm KPMG, has been appointed deputy chairman, according to a statement from the bank.
Barclays also announced on Monday that it will conduct an independent audit of its business practices.
The review will center on what led to the rate manipulation, as well as other “flawed” practices since the financial crisis began, and how these issues will affect the bank’s business units in the future. The audit will be used to create new code of conduct for the bank.