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Barclays CEO says doctors 'very optimistic' as cancer detected early

FILE PHOTO: Treasury building, in London

By Lawrence White and Iain Withers

LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays Chief Executive C.S. Venkatakrishnan said on Tuesday that his cancer was detected early and is "very localised", meaning that doctors are very optimistic about treating it.

The British bank said on Monday that Venkatakrishnan would undergo treatment in New York for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Barclays has not appointed an interim replacement and said the CEO will stay involved with running it where treatment allows.

"While nobody likes to hear this diagnosis, it is all too common. At a personal level it's going to be 12-16 weeks of treatment, and it won’t be a picnic in the park," Venkatakrishnan told an online Financial Times event.

Former JP Morgan banker Venkatakrishnan has endured a turbulent first year in charge of Barclays, which has had to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties after it sold more securities than allowed in the United States.

Its investment bank, from which the error originated, "may shrink relative to the rest of Barclays," due to putting more resources into other businesses, Venkatakrishnan told the conference, although he remains committed to the business.

The resources poured into the investment bank as against the more staid retail and commercial banking units has split Barclays investors recently, with one activist unsuccessfully pushing for the investment bank to be pared back.

Venkatakrishnan's predecessor Jes Staley vigorously defended the investment bank, which has delivered strong returns in recent quarters on the back of bumper fixed income trading.

Errors like the U.S. securities over-issuance, however, have bolstered the arguments of critics who say the investment banking business is too volatile and unpredictable to sit comfortably alongside the other parts of the business.

(Reporting by Lawrence White and Iain Withers; editing by David Evans and Alexander Smith)