Bob Diamond faces revolt as his new bank Atlas Mara loses its way
- Diamond has come under attack from investor groups ahead of the bank’s AGM
- Glass Lewis has recommended that investors should vote against Diamond’s election as chairman
- Fellow adviser group ISS recommends that investors abstain from the vote
Bob Diamond, the former Barclays chief once dubbed the ‘unacceptable face of banking’, has come under attack from investor groups ahead of his new bank’s annual meeting.
Two influential shareholder adviser groups have raised red flags over corporate governance issues at London-listed Atlas Mara, a bank Diamond set up to focus on Africa.
Glass Lewis has recommended that investors should vote against Diamond’s election as chairman because as a co-founder of the firm he is not considered independent.
Under fire: Atlas Mara chief Bob Diamond
Fellow adviser group ISS has raised similar concerns and recommends that investors abstain from the vote on August 29.
The organisations are urging shareholders to vote against three non-executive directors including Michael Wilkerson, chief executive of Atlas Mara’s largest shareholder Fairfax Africa, arguing that he is not independent.
The other two directors are former Bank of Ireland chief executive Richie Boucher and Hisham Ezz Al-Arab, chairman and managing director of the Commercial International Bank of Egypt.
Both groups also oppose a motion that would allow Atlas Mara to sell 15 per cent of its shares without first offering them to existing investors.
Diamond, who resigned from Barclays at the height of the Libor-rigging scandal in July 2012, founded Atlas Mara in 2013 and has been chairman since October 2016.
Atlas Mara’s shares have fallen 80 per cent in five years.
In 2010, the then Business Secretary Lord Mandelson criticised Diamond’s rewards at Barclays and described him as the ‘unacceptable face of banking’.
Atlas Mara said it takes governance ‘very seriously’, adding that Diamond’s ‘continued leadership at the board is important to delivering on our business plan and performance objectives’.