Chairman of Barclays America to step down as the firm slims down

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Archibald Cox, the son of the famous Watergate special prosecutor and the man who led Barclays acquisition of Lehman Brothers' North American assets, is stepping down as Barclays Americas chairman at the end of this month, according to a story in Financial News.

Word of Cox's upcoming departure comes amid stories that the global financial giant is laying off people in its equities sales and trading business. Barclays Capital, which has about 140,000 employees globally, is reportedly in the process of cutting staff that could result in significant headcount reductions by the end of the year.

Cox joined the firm in April 2008 to boost the bank's US business. In a statement released yesterday, the bank said Cox helped steer the bank through the credit crisis "so that we remained profitable throughout and are today in a stronger strategic position."

BarCap has reportedly trimmed its equities sales and trading business by 50 people.

In an article from eFinancialCareers in the UK, Editor Sarah Butcher writes "this may seem a little weird given that BarCap spent last year building its equities sales and trading business, but it's not. It's normal."

Butcher goes on to write that BarCap isn't saying anything about the subtractions on the record. However, we understand that they were the perfectly predictable culmination of a performance review to weed out undesirables.

"In Europe, we've only let go of 12 people," says one BarCap employee. "Four of them are in trading and the rest are sales. We've hired more than 400 people in the past 18 months and it would have been astonishing if we'd got them all right."

Most of the cuts are said to have come in flow derivatives says Butcher, where hiring had apparently been a little over-exuberant. There were also a disproportionate number of cuts in the US, where the business remains replete with former Lehman staff.