The head of UK banking’s industry group has stepped down over historic sexist comments he made that had recently come to light in a court case.
UK Finance confirmed late on Tuesday that its board had accepted the resignation of Stephen Jones. Jones, who has headed the powerful industry group since 2017, tended his resignation after coverage of comments he made in 2008 while at Barclays (BARC.L) bank.
The High Court heard earlier this month that Jones made “deeply unpleasant personal comments” about Amanda Staveley, a high-profile financier.
The court was told on Friday that Jones referred to Staveley’s firm as “a bunch of scumbags” and “f*****s”, according to The Times.
The comments came to light in a High Court case between Staveley’s firm, PCP Capital Partners, and Barclays related to a financing deal struck at the height of the financial crisis. Jones is expected to be called as a witness.
“I have apologised to Ms Staveley and to my colleagues for the comments made in 2008 and feel at this time it is right I step down from my role at UK Finance,” Jones said in a statement on Tuesday evening.
“I am very proud of what we have achieved since the formation of UK Finance in 2017. Our current work with the banking and finance industry, government, business and consumer groups and regulators to coordinate the provision of financial support during the COVID19 crisis shows UK Finance at its best.
“I am confident UK Finance will continue to be an effective advocate and agent for the banking and finance industry and would like to thank all my colleagues and the Board for their commitment to build an effective and appropriate voice.”
Bob Wigley, chairman of UK Finance, said: “Stephen has rightly acknowledged that the comments he made in 2008 were inappropriate and do not meet the standards expected of leaders in our industry. He has characteristically taken a difficult personal decision in the interest of UK Finance and the industry and we accept his decision.
“I and the Board of UK Finance want to thank Stephen for all of his vision and hard work in building UK Finance over the last three years.
“His commitment and passion to raise standards across the industry and ensure our work was always focussed on meeting the needs of consumers and businesses has never been more apparent than in the way UK Finance and our members have responded to the challenges of recent months.”