Goodbye Mr Harding

The big news in the in-house world this week is that Barclays general counsel Mark Harding is retiring from the bank after 10 years in the role.

Harding joined Barclays a decade ago after spending the majority of his career at Clifford Chance. He did have previous experience of working in-house, however, having spent a four-year stint as general counsel at UBS Warburg.

While Barclays says it is already looking for Harding’s replacement, it could take some time. When the bank’s previous general counsel Howard Trust quit in August 2002 it took a lengthy transatlantic headhunting process before Harding was eventually appointed as his successor in June 2003.

As one source told The Lawyer at the time, a heated debate inside the bank over the general counsel’s responsibilities proved to be one of the most divisive issues and delayed the decision-making process.

During his time at Barclays, Harding has overseen a considerable overhaul of the bank’s in-house legal team and a huge revamp of its roster of external law firms.

The question now is whether Harding will follow in Trust’s footsteps by taking on another role – his Barclays predecessor joined Schroders as general counsel in May 2003, just months after his own shock departure.