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RBS chief Hester frontrunner to replace Diamond

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Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) chief executive Stephen Hester has emerged as the frontrunner to fill the vacant chief executive position at Barclays.

A report in the Sunday Telegraph said Hester is being backed by a number of Barclays’ prominent shareholders, who would prefer an external appointment to repair the bank’s tainted reputation following the LIBOR scandal.

One top-10 shareholder told the paper Hester is seen by many influential shareholders as an “excellent external candidate after his good work at RBS”.

However, in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Barclays’ new chairman, Sir David Walker, was tight-lipped over the vacant position, stating an internal candidate or a UK-based figure could take the job.

“Leaving aside where he’s come from, whether or not he’s an investment banker or a retail banker, he needs to be confident of leading in a lateral way.

“These are well-performing businesses, and we need to be confident that the new leadership at the executive level should be able to straddle both.”

Walker added he has set himself a two year deadline to change the bank’s culture and repair its reputation following the LIBOR scandal.

Sir David, who was appointed chairman last Thursday, said his first tasks are to find a new chief executive, reform compensation and change the culture within the bank.

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