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Barclaycard CEO Quits to Fight Trump on Civil Liberties

March 24, 2017

Amer Sajed left Pakistan at age 19 for the United States, to attend Vassar College. Having arrived with just $900 in his pocket, his first job - cleaning toilets at McDonalds - didn’t last long, but his one take away was that 'all jobs deserve respect'.


Thirty-seven years later, Mr. Sajed, 56, is CEO of Barclaycard and a member of Barclays executive committee. But not for long.


Yahoo Finance reports that Mr. Sajed will be leaving the bank in July to fight for civil liberties in his adopted homeland amid concerns about the rights of Muslims, immigrants and women. He’s already been working with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other grassroots community organizations.


A quick read of Mr. Sajed’s executive profile on the Barclaycard web site provides some insight into the basis for his decision. We’d like to share some of that profile.


[Financialish:  While reading Amer Sajed’s profile, consider his ‘DNA’ and philosophies to those of Wells Fargo's senior management for card member services. It's not apparent that the higher-ups at Wells have a similar appreciation for work/life balance – or, for that matter, 'doing the right thing.”]



Professional Philosophy.   We need to ensure appropriate work/life balance, and to celebrate our successes.


What attracted you to Barclaycard?    I came to Barclaycard because I felt I could really make a difference here. In my previous role, I was trapped into 'incrementalism' and I had an opportunity here to break the mold and think differently and make a difference for our UK cards portfolio.


What do you look for in the people you hire?    Passion, team work, can-do attitude, and I also ask prospects for examples of successes and failures.

If you could change one thing about financial services what would it be?


I would put more control in the hands of our customers by creating a menu of options that our customers can choose from easily - e.g., at AT&T you can choose your plan (individual or family, 5 lines or 10, 1 GB or 20 GB) or Toyota (type of seats, engine, model, etc.) – and the value equation is so transparent (e.g. leather seats will cost $1,000 extra).


In 3 words, how would you describe your leadership style and why?    Informal, action-oriented, and collaborative. Why? Because it works – and I have found that it gets the best out of people.