Matthew Barrett (banker)

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Matthew Barrett
Matthew William Barrett

(1944-09-20) September 20, 1944 (age 74)
County Kerry, Ireland
Known forChairman and CEO, Bank of Montreal; Chairman and Chief Executive, Barclays Bank
AwardsOrder of Canada

Matthew William Barrett, OC (born September 20, 1944) is an Irish Canadian banker who until 2006 was the Chairman of Barclays Bank. Prior to this, Barrett was Chairman and CEO of the Bank of Montreal when he spent 30 years.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Born in County Kerry, Ireland, he attended the Christian Brothers School in Kells, County Meath, and the six-week Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School in 1981.[2]

He started his banking career in the London office of the Bank of Montreal (BMO) as a clerk in 1962, and moved from London to Canada in 1967 when he was promoted to management trainee at bank's main office. In 1976 he left BMO for a 9-month period when he joined the Royal Bank of Canada,[3] but returned to the Bank of Montreal after this brief period. In 1987 he had become President, then in 1989 he was appointed Chief Executive Officer, and in 1990 he was elected chairman of the board (relinquishing his title of President to Tony Comper who became President and Chief Operating Officer).[4][5] Barrett negotiated a proposed merger of the Bank of Montreal with the Royal Bank of Canada where his RBC counterpart John Cleghorn would take over as CEO of the combined company[6], however this deal was turned down by the competition authorities; Barrett was quoted as saying "I'd be fibbing if I said that it was not a blow at the time". Barrett resigned as Chairman and CEO in 1999 and was succeeded by Comper in these roles.

After serving a short stint as Chairman of Irish state-owned bank ACCBank,[7] he returned to Britain on joining Barclays on 1 October 1999 as Group Chief Executive.[8]

He then became Chairman in 2004,[9] and retired on 31 December 2006, succeeded by Marcus Agius.[8]

Barrett is twice divorced (married Irene Korsak c. 1967, divorced 1995; married Anne-Marie Sten, 1997), with four children from his first marriage. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1994 for "fostering the advancement of women in the banking industry",[10] and has dual Irish and Canadian citizenship.


  1. ^ "Honorary Directors | BMO Financial Group – Annual Report 2015". Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  2. ^ "Interview: Matt Barrett, Barclays chief executive". the Guardian. 2000-08-12. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  3. ^ "Canada dry at Barclays". the Guardian. 2002-02-17. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  4. ^ "Matthew William Barrett 1944— Biography - A defining change". Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  5. ^ "Matthew William Barrett O.C., LL.D.: Executive Profile & Biography - Bloomberg". Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Person of the Month Matthew Barrett -". Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  8. ^ a b Ben, Livesey; Jon Menon (31 August 2006). "Barclays Names Lazard's Marcus Agius as Chairman (Update2)". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  9. ^ "Matthew Barrett (Chief Executive 1999-2004; Chairman 2004-2007) | Barclays Group Archives". Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  10. ^ "Barrett, Matthew William 1944– - Dictionary definition of Barrett, Matthew William 1944– | FREE online dictionary". Retrieved 2018-03-06.
Business positions
Preceded by
Grant Reuber
President of the Bank of Montreal
Succeeded by
F. Anthony Comper
Preceded by
William D. Mulholland
Chairman of the Bank of Montreal
Succeeded by
F. Anthony Comper
Preceded by
Peter Middleton
Chairman of the Barclays Bank
Succeeded by
Marcus Agius