John McFarlane
John McFarlane was chairman of Aviva, and will take up the same role at Barclays in 2015Getty

John McFarlane, who only stepped into the role of chairman at Barclays in April, is now charged with "re-energising" the bank and holding the helm until a replacement is found for Antony Jenkins.

McFarlane, born in Dumfries and educated at Edinburgh University, cut his teeth in banking at Citibank and rose over an 18-year period to head up its UK and Ireland operation.

McFarlane was previously the chairman of Aviva, a position he took up in mid-2012.

Interestingly, that role provided McFarlane with some form when it comes to holding the fort in times of upheaval. He took over day-to-day control of Aviva after Andrew Moss was ousted as chief executive following a shareholder revolt.

McFarlane took up his position at Barclays after the bank's AGM in April, promising to relocate resources and reform structures to improve returns.

Back then he said: "What we really need is a hard-driving, energetic organisation with a high performance setting. That is a different set of values going forward, superimposed on the other values that we will continue the journey on.

"That is something I have a lot of familiarity with, we put in the same programme at Aviva, you will start to see the effects of that. It is about the level of direction and energy in the organisation, and the speed of decisions.

"The speed of decisions can only happen if the personal accountability in the organisation rises. Barclays has 375 management committees – we'd rather translate that into individual accountability and speed the process up."

McFarlane also has connections to the Bank of England, where he chaired The McFarlane Report – the review of "The Future Development of Auditing in the United Kingdom and Ireland".

Rake's progress

The other figure that looms large in the story of Jenkins's departure is the deputy chairman and senior independent director at Barclays, Sir Michael Rake.

Barclays said Rake came forward and represented the bank's board of non-executive directors, telling McFarlane that new leadership was needed at the bank to accelerate the pace of execution going forward.

Rake, who was a non-executive director at Barclays, was called upon to take up the deputy position when investors called for the resignation of chairman Marcus Agius back in July of 2012.

This was the shake-up that also saw the departure of CEO Bob Diamond following revelations about rate fixing at the bank.

Rake is chairman of BT Group, a director of McGraw-Hill and president of the CBI.