Frontrunners emerge for Barclays general counsel role

Senior Barclays in-house lawyers Michael Shaw and Judith Shepherd have emerged as the frontrunners for the bank’s general counsel job, which is vacant following last week’s announcement that longstanding legal chief Mark Harding is standing down.

Michael Shaw
Michael Shaw

Shaw, a former Herbert Smith partner and currently deputy general counsel, is being tipped for the role alongside ex-Stephenson Harwood and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher partner Shepherd, currently global general counsel for corporate and investment banking.

Harding is set to step down as group general counsel when the bank finds a replacement, after joining from Clifford Chance 10 years ago (4 February 2013).

Other names expected to be on the long-list are Barclays Capital general counsel and former Ashurst partner Erica Handling, as well as current and former Clifford Chance banking partners such as present practice head Mark Campbell, senior partner Malcolm Sweeting and former chief Stuart Popham QC, who is now vice-chairman of EMEA banking at Citigroup.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer finance partner Simon Hall, the firm’s relationship partner for Barclays, has ruled himself out.

Recently appointed CEO Antony Jenkins is widely expected to choose an in-house promotion over riskier external hire due to the pressure the bank has been under in the wake of the Libor scandal.

In addition, Shaw’s background is in retail banking, the same department Jenkins previously headed, with the lawyer temporarily serving as general counsel of the group’s retail arm.

A City partner commented: “Barclays would go for as vanilla or non-controversial a candidate as possible.”

A Barclays spokesperson said the recruitment process would take a considerable amount of time, with the completion date dependent on which candidates are available and when.

All the potential candidates either declined to comment or were unavailable for a response.

For more on this story read this week’s news analysis.