Barclays appoints new chairman for Middle East ops

UK's second-largest bank names Makram Azar, two months after its CEO for region left

Barclays Plc, the UK’s second-largest bank by assets, on Sunday said it has appointed Makram Azar as its chairman for the Middle East and North Africa.

Azar will continue as vice chairman of the bank’s global investment banking division. Barclays also said it appointed Andrew Mortimer as country manager for the Middle East.

Azar replaces John Vitalo who left his role as chief executive officer for the region two months ago.

In April, Barclays agreed to sell its retail banking operations in the UAE to Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) for an expected price of AED650m ($177m).

The emirate's largest Islamic bank said it would acquire 110,000 customers through the deal, helping it expand into serving expatriates, who comprise most of the population in the Arab world's second biggest economy.

The British bank said last September that it would offload its retail portfolio in the UAE including credit cards, mortgages, personal lending and deposit-taking operations.

Last month, Barclays said it will axe 19,000 jobs in the next three years and set up a "bad bank" to house much of its investment banking business and European retail operations as it strives to turn itself around in the face of a trading slump.

Under the latest strategic review, Barclays will cut 7,000 jobs from the investment bank and park some €90bn ($123bn) worth of risk-weighted assets from the division in a bad bank.

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