LONDON: Barclays Chairman John McFarlane has fired the British bank's chief executive just three months after taking the lender's top job, saying an injection of new blood would help accelerate strategic change and boost shareholder returns.

The move comes three years after Anthony Jenkins was promoted to CEO, having been the bank's retail chief. McFarlane, who had signaled his intention to speed up its turnaround efforts when he took the post in April, will assume executive duties until a permanent successor is appointed.

McFarlane said on a conference call he had spoken to Jenkins last week about his position after independent directors of Barclays complained to him about the CEO's leadership style.

Nicknamed "Saint Anthony" for his drive to clean up the group's culture after an interest rate-fixing scandal, Jenkins' understated approach, in contract to the brash style of his predecessor Bob Diamond, rubbed board members up the wrong way.

His exit, which will be soothed with a payoff of more than 2 million pounds ($3 million), was confirmed at a board meeting late on Tuesday.

Although shares in Barclays have underperformed rivals since Jenkins' appointment in August 2012, he was expected by many analysts to be given longer to turn the bank around.

"The announcement came as a surprise this morning but was not completely unexpected, with returns from the investment banking division still disappointing. The chairman comes with a good reputation and I would back him in his decision," David Smith, co-manager of Henderson High Income fund, told.