The bank says “a new set of skills is required” at the helm, as it confirms Antony Jenkins has already left the company.
The chief executive of Barclays, Antony Jenkins, has been sacked following differences on the bank’s direction and frustration over profitability.
A statement from the bank said: “The non-executive directors led by Sir Michael (Mike) Rake, deputy chairman and senior independent director, concluded that new leadership is required to accelerate the pace of execution going forward.
“The Board recognises the contribution made by Antony Jenkins as chief executive over the past three years in incredibly difficult circumstances for the group, and is extremely grateful to him in bringing the company to a much stronger position.
“The situation he inherited would have challenged anyone facing the same issues.”
The bank said it would appoint its new chairman, John McFarlane, as executive chairman from 17 July until a successor was found.
He has a reputation as a ruthless operator following his tenure at Aviva, when the insurer axed its boss Andrew Moss shortly after his arrival.
Sky’s Business Presenter Ian King said it was clear Mr McFarlane’s job was to “effect a fast turnaround at the bank”, adding: “that seems to have been what sealed Antony Jenkins’ fate.”
Barclays distanced Mr McFarlane from the sacking.
Sir Mike said of the decision: “I reflected long and hard on the issue of group leadership and discussed this with each of the non-executive directors.
“Notwithstanding Antony’s significant achievements, it became clear to all of us that a new set of skills were required for the period ahead.
“This does not take away from our appreciation of Antony’s contribution at a critical time for the company.”
Mr McFarlane’s comments offered more reasoning behind the decision, hinting that further restructuring and job cuts were on the way.
“It is evident that we have a standout brand with first-class retail, commercial and investment banking businesses,” he said.
“Nevertheless, we are leaving value on the table and a new approach is required.
“As a Group, if we aspire to bring shareholder returns forward, we need to be much more focused on what is attractive, what we are good at, and where we are good at it.
“We therefore need to improve revenue, costs and capital performance.
“We also need to become more externally focused and deal with the internal bureaucracy by becoming leaner and more agile.”
The bank’s share price was 3% higher on the news in early trading, adding more than £1bn to its value.
Mr Jenkins took over in the wake of the departure of Bob Diamond amid the Libor rate-rigging scandal.
Under his tenure, the bank moved to shrink its hugely profitable investment banking arm and shift its focus towards its less risky retail operation in a restructuring that is resulting in thousands of additional job losses.
However, its results have continued to be hit by the effects of the reforms and past mistakes, including massive fines for rigging foreign exchange rates.
Pre-tax profits for its first quarter fell 26% to £1.4bn and Barclays is due to announce its half-year figures at the end of the month.
The bank later confirmed that Mr Jenkins will receive his current annual salary of £1.1m plus £950,000 in role-based pay and a pension of £363,000 a year.