Barclays hire Solbes as caja purchase speculation grows


BARCLAYS BANK is to hire former Spanish Finance Minister Pedro Solbes to head its Spain operations, a spokesman for the bank said on Monday.

Solbes, 68, will join the board of the Spanish unit as well as advise on European banking issues like regulation given his experience as EU commissioner for economic and monetary affairs from 1999 to 2004.

He was Finance Minister for Spain between 2004 and 2009.

Meanwhile, Barclays may be considering purchasing one of Spain’s highly-indebted cajas de ahorros (savings banks), according to a report in British newspaper The Sunday Times.

This follows a meeting held at La Moncloa in Madrid between Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Bod Diamond, Chief Executive of Barclays Bank.

The Spanish Premier expressed his government’s firm commitment to strengthening the Spanish financial system.

Zapatero also assured the Barclays boss the government will make reforms to regulations governing savings banks, as well as the creation of the Fund for Ordered Bank Restructuring, in order to help foster activity and create jobs.

Former Bankinter SA chief executive Jaime Echegoyen was recently appointed CEO in Spain for Barclays Global Retail Banking (GRB) division.

Barclays is to shut 120 of its 590 branches and cut 700 jobs in Spain, according to the online edition of US newspaper The Wall Street Journal.

The bank operates in more than 50 countries, employing nearly 147,000 people and has been in Spain since 1974 where it currently employs nearly 4,400 people, according to the company website.

Barclays has more than 48 million customers and clients worldwide.

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