Barclays CEO Jes Staley Faces Pressure Over Re-Election

Shareholders in Barclays PLC should abstain from re-electing Chief Executive Jes Staley pending a probe by regulators into his attempts to unmask a whistleblower, proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. recommended Thursday.

Earlier this month Barclays disclosed that the U.K.'s Prudential Regulatory Authority and Financial Conduct Authority were investigating Mr. Staley after the executive repeatedly tried to uncover the identity of a whistleblower who complained about a top hire he made.

Mr. Staley apologized to Barclays's board, admitting errors in his handling of the situation. The board has said it will dock a chunk of Mr. Staley's bonus after the regulators' reports are complete. That process is expected to take several months.

ISS recommended that shareholders refrain from endorsing the American CEO at the bank's general meeting on May 10 but stopped short of saying they should vote against him outright.

"Given his personal involvement and accountability in this matter, and given the importance of his role as the group CEO, an abstention on his re-election is considered appropriate," ISS said in a report that was sent to shareholders and seen by The Wall Street Journal. It added that given the board's pledge to cooperate with the ongoing investigation, a vote against Mr. Staley wasn't warranted. ISS also recommended that investors vote in favor of the bank's remuneration report.

Barclays declined to comment.

Since arriving at the British bank in December 2015, Mr. Staley has accelerated a restructuring of the lender that has seen it start to retreat from Africa and refocus on its businesses in the U.S. and U.K.

Barclays is set to present first-quarter results on Friday, where analysts will look for evidence that the overhaul is bearing fruit. Of particular interest will be how the investment bank, which Mr. Staley has backed, has fared compared with U.S. rivals.

Write to Max Colchester at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 27, 2017 11:01 ET (15:01 GMT)