Former Standard Life Aberdeen chair Sir Gerry Grimstone is to step down as chair and non-executive of Barclays’ ringfenced private and investment bank as he winds down some longstanding commitments.

Grimstone (pictured), who was instrumental in the merger of Aberdeen with Standard Life in 2017 following 11 years as chair of the latter, announced he would stand down from the combined group a year ago.

His involvement with Barclays was comparatively brief, being appointed deputy chair of the then single entity in 2016 and chair of Barclays Bank in 2018, following its spin-off for regulatory reasons.

He will be succeeded by Nigel Higgins, a Rothschild veteran and the first non-family member to head the firm.

Grimstone said: ‘I'm leaving Barclays in very good shape and I wish it very well for the future.

‘After 20 years sitting on the boards of a number of listed companies, and having recently stepped down from the chairmanship of Standard Life Aberdeen plc, it is an appropriate moment for a change.’

Higgins is also due to take over the main board chair following the May exit of current occupant Sir John McFarlane, who paid tribute to Grimstone’s service: ‘He has been very active in, and passionate about, the international business of the Bank and our major customers.  I appreciate everything he has done for the company and his support of me, and I wish him well.’

While brief, Grimstone’s time with the business has been eventful. In addition to the corporate restructuring it has encompassed the controversy and eventual £642,000 fine paid by chief executive Jes Staley over the management’s attempts to identify a whistle-blower.

More recently it has also included the appearance of activist Edward Bramson’s Sherborne Investors fund on the Barclays share register as fourth largest holder, with a 5.5% stake.  

While Bramson has this year begun to hone his message to potentially dissatisfied shareholders with a demand to trim the investment banking division, some of his appeal may be tarnished by this week’s results which climbed back into the black last year, with a significant boost from equity trading.

At group level the company reported a £1.39 billion profit on revenue of £21 billion, versus a £1.9 billion loss a year earlier, allowing it to double its dividend to 6.5p per share.

Following a volatile period for equities, the company’s dedicated trading desk reported a 3.4% increase in revenue to £375 million, making it the only one of its European rivals to report an upturn in the year.

Staley, who has made the investment banking division a key plank of his strategy to revive Barclays, said much of the credit for the recent success was Grimstone’s.  ‘I am deeply grateful to him for the support and counsel he has provided me personally, as well as for his immense contribution to the turnaround of our corporate and investment bank in particular,’ he said.

‘He has been a great steward of Barclays during his time on the Board and I wish him huge success in his future endeavours.’