The City of London has been shocked to its shallow core with the news that Barclays has appointed the infamous gambler, Wild Bill Hickok, as its new CEO.
Mr Hickok was unveiled yesterday at a spectacular press conference, the like of which had not been seen since Wyatt Earp became Sheriff of Tombstone. To the thunderous refrain of Motorhead’s Ace of Spades, Hickok strode manfully into the room in Savile Row buckskins and matching Stetson, pausing only to look over his shoulder for signs of celebrated lawmaker and scourge of bankers, Doc Cable.
He told reporters, ‘I am delighted and honoured to have been appointed as Chief Executive of this fine, historic bank. At a time when many of my contemporaries are making their names by robbing banks, I feel fortunate to be part of a banking system that is stealing from everyone else.’
Looking anxiously round the room, he continued, ‘I realise I am not without my critics. Doc Cable, who I note has not had the guts to show up today, claims that I will turn Barclays into a mixture of a traditional bank and a casino. Nothing could be further from my mind, and I have already appointed my good friend, Bugsy Siegel, to ensure that that doesn’t happen. And to those who say I’m only in it for the money? Sure I get paid for doing this job, I get paid very well, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s just one big bonus.’
Mr Hickok made his name as a gambler, mainly playing high stakes poker in the saloons and bars of the Wild West. Over many years, he amassed a personal fortune, reputed to be in the region of £95m. In 1996, he joined Barclays and the even more lucrative world of investment banking. The move however was not universally popular, with the outlaw, Jesse James, branding him the ‘unacceptable face of gambling’.
Over the past fourteen years, Mr Hickok has shot up the ranks, using his trusty duelling pistol. Critics claim that this has been one of the main reasons behind his meteoric rise to the summit of the Barclays Group. Though never charged, Mr Hickok was implicated in the death of former banker and rival, Robert Carson, in 2002. Hickok denies shooting Mr Carson, but does admit to holding the dead man’s hand when he passed away.
Despite his shady past, Mr Hickok is seen by the City as a safer pair of hands than any of the other candidates.