Back in May, Barclays named longtime Lehaman Brothers-turned-Barclays employee Hugh "Skip" McGee III Chief Executive Officer of Barclays Americas. Following last summer's revelations that the bank had been engaging in interest rate manipulation, the resignations of chairman Marcus Agius, CEO Bob Diamond, and COO Jerry del Missier, and the general tarnishing of the Barclays name, the appointment came with the obvious mandate to "improve relations with U.S. regulators," at a time when the Fed is "preparing to make foreign banks meet higher capital standards" and BARC is writing checks for $488 million to settle charges of energy market manipulation. This, Bloombergwrites today in a profile of HSM3, makes him "a noteworthy choice" as peacemaker. Colleagues "don’t expect contrition or retreat" from the banker (he's already told the Fed its proposed rules are "not sufficiently nuanced," "inappropriate," and "unnecessary") and, if anything, think he'll be "an advocate for robust pay and freer capital."
How do these people know they can count on McGee to 1) get them paid, optics be damned and 2) not roll over and take it from U.S. regulators in an attempt to prove that Barclays is a changed bank? Ol' Skippy secured their votes four years ago, when he penned his opus to his kid's school, a sagging institution employing a "gay female coach" and even worse, a history teacher with the audacity to say "hurtful things about bankers" in the presence of his child, not to mention, "humiliating" a group of boys by refusing to allow them to dress in drag for a pep rally ("The Incident"), all clear indications of the fact that the place was going to hell in a handbag.
Memorable moments in the letter included:
- "I have never seen a group of parents come together as nicely as the parent group did this year around our football team. We had a great team mom and dad in Peggy Rathmell and Kevin Snodgrass. When we “won out” and got some help with a Casady loss, we qualified for the SPC Championship. Peggy and Kevin carefully planned a full week of activities leading up to the big game (In case you hadn’t heard, we got killed 52-7)."
- "A key event in the week was the Friday afternoon pep rally...One of the skits involved the classic routine of the seniors on the football team dressing up as EHS cheerleaders and doing a brief cheer followed by some clumsy cartwheels. Teams of moms went to work on making skirts big enough for the boys, while others fanned out across Houston in search of wigs, pompoms and megaphones in the correct shade of blue. Seeing the boys practice all week in the gym, in the hallway and outside in the courtyard created a sense of anticipation for Friday afternoon."
- "After all the effort and preparation and with the crowd anxiously anticipating something, and no “official” word from Mr. Saltman, the boys shed the balloons from their shirts, exchanged their skirts for khakis, and proceeded to the stage. After getting through one line of their act, Mr. Saltman finally appeared at the back of the theater and, pointing with his finger, yelled at the top of his lungs, “I told you not to do this! This pep rally is over!” The boys were humiliated as they milled about on stage and the crowd murmured in disbelief. The parents and grandparents were shocked. What a way to send the team off to the championship game! I have never seen the air taken out of a room like that."
- "Ms. Leslie Lovett is regularly ranked among the least desired teachers (at least on the parent “whisper circuit”). Good students are afraid they will never get a decent grade from her because they represent the conservative viewpoint and literally dread having to be in her class. Her leftist invective is neither accurate nor part of the approved curriculum. Last year, she commented to an 11th grade history class including my son that somehow both Lehman and Barclays made a bunch of money on the Lehman bankruptcy, and that all investment bankers were “sleazeballs” and dishonest. With tears in his eyes, John Ed called her out in front of the class and said his dad worked for Lehman Brothers and had been working around the clock trying to save 11,000 jobs and that she had absolutely no idea what she was talking about."
- "Last year, Ms. Lovett suggested that Homecoming should be at a girls’ field hockey game rather than at a football game."
- "Why are we tolerating teachers like Ms. Lovett?"
- "As I said in the opening paragraph of this letter, this is NOT about a pep rally."
- "...on behalf of the “silent majority,” I tell you that this cancelled pep rally is the “tipping point” for many families.
- "Many are concerned about whether they can change schools – I am not, as I know St. Johns will take another McGee in a heartbeat."
As for the team that appointed McGee? Clearly they were sold on the fact that the school gave him everything he asked for.
In sum, there's going to be a new way of doing things around Barclays moving forward, and if anyone, say, Ben Bernanke, has got a problem with that/the proposed skit for this year's company Christmas party, or is still citing throwing that Libor incident in Barclays' face, let the Skipper know. He's waiting, quill in hand.
Barclays Hands U.S. Reins to McGee After Vowing Change [Bloomberg]
Earlier: Barclays Global Head of Investment Banking Writes Tear-Stained Letter To Son’s School, Demands Teacher’s Firing For Trash Talking Barclays, Making Son Cry; Barclays Banker Prevails: Son’s School Will Be Drag-Show Friendly Zone