Legal Business Blogs

Barclays goes external to replace group GC Mark Harding

In a surprise announcement, Barclays has today (30 August) revealed that Bob Hoyt has taken over from Mark Harding as group general counsel (GC), following the announcement in February that Harding is to retire.

The decision to appoint an external candidate to one of the most high-profile legal roles in banking ends months of speculation following Harding’s decision to retire at the start of the year, with many calling a two-horse race between deputy general counsel Michael Shaw and global GC for corporate and investment banking Judith Shepherd.

Hoyt comes from PNC Financial Services Group, where he is currently GC and chief regulatory affairs officer, having previously served as deputy GC since 2009. He is expected to take up the new role in mid-October, after which Harding will retire. Mr Hoyt will be a member of the executive committee and report directly to group chief executive, Antony Jenkins.

Prior to PNC, Hoyt held roles in public service as GC at the US Department of the Treasury from 2006 to 2009, and as special assistant and associate counsel at the White House. He spent much of the early part of his career in private practice at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr, specialising in securities, litigation and corporate.

Hoyt’s experience as a top-level adviser to the US government would undoubtedly have been a key reason behind his appointment, given the far greater levels of public and regulatory scrutiny heaped on all banks following the collapse of Lehman and subsequent Libor and bonus scandals.

Commenting on the appointment, Antony Jenkins, group chief executive at Barclays said: ‘I’m delighted to welcome Bob to Barclays. His breadth of experience, having worked at senior levels in both industry and government, means he is exceptionally well prepared to take on the challenge of leading our legal function and contributing as a member of the Executive Committee of Barclays.

‘Banking is a highly regulated industry, the legal matters we face are myriad and complex, and it was important that we recruited a strong leader to succeed Mark, to continue the development of a world-class function to help us manage these challenges. In Bob we believe we have found such a leader.

Hoyt added: ‘I am looking forward to taking up my new post leading Barclays’ legal function and playing my part in Antony’s leadership team. This is an important period for Barclays as it works toward its goal of becoming the ‘Go-To’ bank. I have no doubt there will be many challenges, and opportunities, ahead and I am excited at the prospect of working with my new colleagues in London and around the world.’

Harding announced his decision to step down in early February after ten years at the bank, having joined in 2003 from Clifford Chance. His retirement came the same time as group finance director Chris Lucas.

Both Harding and Lucas opted to remain in their roles until successors were found, a process which, considering the seniority of the roles, was expected to take some time.

For more on the rapidly evolving role of the bank GC post-Lehman, click here.