Barclays poaches Biddle's top man

Barclays has recruited City firm Biddle's managing partner to oversee and manage the bank's legal panels and in-house team.

Desmond O'Connell quit Biddle to take up his new role last week to become Barclays' legal team's number two.

Barclays claims O'Connell's new position is the first of its kind. He becomes its projects and operations director, responsible for choosing the firms on the bank's legal panel and managing its relationship with them.

He reports to Howard Trust, the group general counsel and group secretary. Corporate finance specialist Martin Lane has taken over as managing partner at Biddle.

But an insider says Barclays plans to cut its law firm panels even further, which could adversely affect the bank's relationship with many firms. The insider says: “This [the matrix] will be whittled down until there are only two or three firms.”

O'Connell says: “As far as I know there is no plan to do that. One of my roles is to look at things like that. It is the legal directors who decide which firms they use. That [the firms] will always be under review.”

See “Barclays unveils slimmed down corporate panel”, page 3