Page last updated at 17:33 GMT, Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Barclays boss pulls out of Davos

Bob Diamond
Bob Diamond has pulled out but chairman Marcus Agius is still going

Bob Diamond, president of Barclays Bank and head of its investment banking arm, has become the latest banker to decide not to go to the World Economic Forum.

Barclays stressed that many of its other executives would be attending.

Several other bankers, mainly from US banks, have decided against travelling to the Swiss ski resort of Davos.

The World Economic Forum is an annual event attended by politicians and business leaders. It has gained a reputation for its glitzy parties.

Others who decided against attending at the last minute include Citigroup's chief executive Vikram Pandit and former Merrill Lynch boss John Thain.

While the big banks are still represented in Davos this year, many of them have not sent their chief executives.

Goldman Sachs has decided against holding its usual Davos party this year and is also not sending its chief executive Lloyd Blankfein.

Bankers who are attending appear to be keeping a low profile and have been reluctant to talk to the media.

'Concerned with appearances'

There have been suggestions in the US that bankers have decided against attending because it would look bad at a time when their sector is receiving money from taxpayers.

"Banking officials have to be concerned with appearances more than ever," said Howard Rubenstein, president of Rubenstein Associates.

"They should avoid anything that appears super fancy or super rich, or thumbing their noses at taxpayers during a time of austerity."

Reports in the Swiss press suggested that spending on receptions is down 30% from last year.

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