An Alternate Reality in Which Bob Diamond Gets Punched Out in the Barclays Gym

There is the story about how Dick Fuld was working out on a treadmill in the company gym around the time his firm was going under and another bank employee set down a barbell and decked the former Lehman Brothers chief executive.

And there is the story John Carney reports today, about how Bob Diamond might have met a similar fate if he had not resigned in the face of pressure from British regulators and politicians today.

Mr. Diamond had been fighting to hang on to his job in the aftermath of Barclays settlement with U.S. and U.K. regulators over the firm’s efforts to manipulate interbank lending rates—first promising to forgo his 2012 bonus, then offering up chairman Marcus Agius in sacrifice and penning a letter apologizing for the “small minority” of bank employees that let the firm down.

Those actions were not met well by bankers in the Barclays Capital unit—”He was like a guy trying desperately to keep his girlfriend from breaking up with him,” one investment banker told Mr. Carney—and some New York-based employees discussed a coup. Mr. Diamond’s resignation obviated such skullduggery; it also may have spared the executive from an unpleasant fate:

One senior trader alluded to an incident from 2008 when then-Lehman CEO Fuld was reportedly punched in the face and knocked-out in the company gym shortly after the investment bank declared bankruptcy. Fuld’s people later denied the story.

“If Diamond had showed up in the company gym, someone would have clocked him,” the trader said.

Mr. Diamond will square off instead with Britain’s Treasury Select Committee tomorrow.

An Alternate Reality in Which Bob Diamond Gets Punched Out in the Barclays Gym