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Exclusive: Investors Seek Barclays CEO Pay Cut

(c) Sky News 2012

The new boss of Barclays (LSE: BARC.L - news) would be paid a significantly lower sum than Bob Diamond and banned from selling some share awards until they retire, under plans proposed by leading shareholders this week.

I have learned that major investors in the bank have told Marcus Agius, the outgoing chairman, and Sir Mike Rake, his deputy, that Mr Diamond's successor should be paid "substantially less" than the American, who resigned two weeks ago after Barclays' £290m Libor-rigging fine.

They have also told the bank that senior executives including the new chief executive should be obliged to hold onto share awards for much longer than is currently required, and possibly until retirement. Bosses would also only receive long-term incentive shares five years after they are granted, rather than the current three year period, in an attempt to ensure that bankers are focused on Barclays' long-term performance.

Mr Diamond was paid a base salary of £1.035m, was entitled to a maximum annual bonus of two-and-a-half times his salary, and a long-term share award worth five times his salary. Investors believe his successor's package should be far more modest.

People close to the discussions tell me that a number of shareholders have cited HSBC (LSE: HSBA.L - news) as a model for Barclays to seek to emulate (in relation to remuneration, not money-laundering, I should point out).

HSBC avoided the pay revolt that greeted Barclays at its annual meeting this year, partly because it insists that executives cannot sell shares until their retirement, and partly because its capital distributions are more firmly weighted towards shareholders.

I've spoken to a number of City sources who are privy to the discussions between investors and Barclays directors including Mr Agius and Sir Mike. They say that the board members have been sympathetic to shareholders' demands, which is unsurprising given that Sir Mike is open to the idea of succeeding Mr Agius.

Investors have told Mr Agius this week that if Sir Mike does replace him, Barclays should recruit a number of new independent directors to refresh the board.

Barclays declined to comment.