In the This-Can’t-Be-Good-News-Department . . . Barclays’ Senior Compliance Officer Leaves

There is a continuing investigation into Barclays CEO James E. (Jes) Staley’s attempts to unmask a whistleblower who was critical of Mr. Staley’s hiring of longtime associate at his former bank (JP Morgan) for a top position at the bank. Notice that plural in “attempts.” Mr. Staley was blocked by bank officials once from unmasking the identity of the whistleblower and he made a second run at it through different channels. Mr. Staley has been disciplined financially by the Barclays board for those actions and has issued an apology. However, both U.S. and UK financial regulators are investigating the bank for its treatment of whistleblowers. Mr. Staley is the third CEO at Barclays since the bank’s LIBOR scandal.

Jonathan Cox, Barclay’s global head of whistleblowing, had a dispute with the bank, a dispute that was scheduled to be heard in London this coming week. However, Mr. Cox agreed to withdraw his dispute. Barclays announced both the withdrawal of the Cox dispute along with his departure from the bank. No one is sharing anything about the nature of the Cox dispute or why it was withdrawn or why Mr. Cox is leaving. On the surface, the conclusion in the title is apt: This can’t be good news. Just the fact that the chief of your whistleblower program has an ongoing dispute with your company during a whistleblower investigation tends to speak for itself. The Barometer wonders if anyone has an eye for optics at the bank.

As an aside, there is some sort of U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the so-called “poaching” of JPMorgan execs by Mr. Staley. The status of that investigation remains unclear. Seems the Barclays board could use a frying pan to the head on this third CEO. How many more investigations, resignations, and issues have to arise before the board zeroes in on the epicenter?

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD.

The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards.

Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader’s Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio.

She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News.

In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles.

Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.

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