Barclays boss Venkat reveals cancer shock: Banker says he will continue to work during his treatment in New York following early diagnosis
The boss of Barclays has announced he is undergoing treatment for cancer – but will continue to run the bank.
In a letter to staff, Coimbatore Sundararajan Venkatakrishnan said his non-Hodgkin lymphoma was ‘detected early’ and ‘very localised’.
The American-Indian banker – known as ‘Venkat’ – will be treated at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York for the next three to four months.
Upbeat: Venkat will continue to work while receiving treatment for his lymphoma which he says is very localised and was ‘detected early’
The 56-year-old will continue to run Barclays as chief executive, though he added he may not be able to travel for some time.
In the letter made public by Barclays, Venkat said: ‘I have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
‘The good news is that the matter has been detected early, with scans and biopsies confirming it to be very localised.’
He added: ‘Doctors have advised that my prognosis is excellent, and my condition is curable with their prescribed regimen. This is likely to last 12 to 16 weeks.
‘During this period, the company will run normally, and I will continue to be actively engaged in managing it. I will have to work from home for some periods and not be able to travel. Fortunately, I have always exercised regularly and am strong and fit.’
It is understood the Barclays executive committee and senior management will take on extra responsibilities to help where needed.
Venkat, who has been living between London and New York since he took the top job, is not the first Barclays boss to suffer from a serious condition.
In 1999, Michael O’Neill was forced to step down after just one day, suffering from blackouts, which his doctors thought was caused by a heart condition.
Former Natwest exec claims £4.3m
A former NatWest employee who was unfairly dismissed just two days after her colon cancer operation is hoping for a £4.3million payout.
Adeline Willis, a 44-year-old senior risk and compliance officer, was paid £160,000 a year up to her departure in 2020.
An earlier tribunal found NatWest discriminated against her on the basis of disability, which left her ‘physically and emotionally in turmoil’, according to her lawyers.
A hearing was held yesterday to decide how much Willis’s payout will be.
They discovered it was likely to be a temporary reaction to severe flu, and while O’Neill made it clear he would like to reclaim the £10m-a-year job, he was ultimately unsuccessful.
Venkat took the reins at Barclays a year ago, after his predecessor Jes Staley quit over a disagreement with the regulator.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was probing whether Staley correctly characterised his relationship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein when asked by his employer.
Staley and Epstein were associates, having met during Staley’s time at JP Morgan where Epstein was a client.
The FCA’s investigation has never been published as Staley, who saw a preview, said he plans to challenge it.
But it reportedly uncovered more than 1,000 emails between the two. Before Staley came Antony Jenkins, who was ousted as his transformation programme proved unpopular.
Just three years before that, chief executive Bob Diamond resigned amid an investigation into Libor-rigging.
His predecessor John Varley, who ran the bank during its near-collapse in the financial crisis, was charged with fraud by the Serious Fraud Office over his conduct, but was later cleared.
While Venkat has only been in the role for a year, it has been a tough period.
Barclays was accused by the Bank of England of ‘gaming the rules’ over pensions, using complex transactions involving its employees’ retirement funds to boost its capital level.
It set aside almost £200million this year to cover ‘higher customer remediation costs’ after a third party it worked with mis-sold timeshare loans in Malta.
Venkat is not the first banking heavyweight to go through cancer treatment. Jamie Dimon, the boss of JP Morgan, was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2014.
And Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive of Goldman Sachs between 2006 and 2018, was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2015.
Both made full recoveries but refused to leave their post while having treatment.