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Barclays investment bank CEO Tom King to step down next month

[LONDON] Tom King, chief executive officer of Barclays Plc's investment bank, is leaving after more than six years at the bank.

King, 55, who ran the securities unit on his own from New York for less than two years, will retire on March 4, the London-based lender said Friday in a statement. The board is leaning toward appointing an external candidate to replace King, whose departure comes as regulators are set to introduce tougher rules next month holding senior executives accountable for misconduct, people with knowledge of the plans said Feb 17.

"After nearly 25 years in my career, and having now seen the investment bank through a period of extraordinary change and on to a solid footing for the future, I feel the moment is right for me to pass the baton," King said in the statement.

Chairman John McFarlane last year hired Jes Staley as the bank's CEO to boost profitability and reverse a two-year slump in shares. The investment bank remains the division with the lowest returns, and last month the company indicated that revenue from that unit would be "broadly flat" in 2015, meaning sales probably fell more than 10 per cent in the fourth quarter.

"While sad to see him leave Barclays, I understand and respect Tom's decision to retire," Staley said in the statement.