When we learned back in April that Barclays CEO Jes Staley responded to an anonymous letter about one of his recent hires by directing the full force of his bank's security team to discover the whistleblower's identity, contra both company policy and British law, we knew this could come to no good end. The intervening months have not brought much relief. The UK's Financial Conduct Authority launched an investigation and the bank initiated its own internal probe as Barclays' financial performance continued to sag and other minor legal contretemps keptspringing up.
On Wednesday we learned that things are not getting better for Staley on the whistleblower front. From Business Insider:
Barclays' security chief Troels Oerting took a leave of absence from the bank on Tuesday, according to two people familiar with the situation...Oerting's name turned up in an internal investigation over a whistleblowing case at Barclays. CEO Jes Staley asked Oerting to identify the writer of an anonymous letter sent to the board about a senior executive hired by Staley.
If Oerting were a normal corporate executive, this might not sound quite as ominous. But Oerting isn't a banker; he's a cop. Before coming to Barclays he worked for Europol, the EU's international police agency, and before that he led operations for the Danish National Police's intelligence agency. Given his professional background rooting out organized crime and hunting terrorists, Oerting can be forgiven for lacking some of the niceties of the C-suite. Here's a tidbit from the BBC earlier this year:
As one insider put it: "He's a former cop - he calls other cops".
And he responded just like a cop. According to subsequent reports, Oerting took Staley's request to unmask the complainant and directed it the fearsome U.S. Postal Inspection Service. You don't want mailmen after you, and you don't want this guy after you. Just look at that name: Troels Oerting. Look in those eyes:
There's no official word the Oerting's leave of absence has anything to do with the misdeed that he's allegedly under internal investigation over currently. Per BI: “His leave of absence is unconnected with the whistleblowing incident, one of the people said.” OK.
Anyway, thoughts and prayers to Jes Staley in what must be a very difficult time for him. The walls are closing in fast. Dominoes are toppling. And worst of all, it's not clear that he even knows yet who sent the unkind letter that got this whole ball rolling.