James “Jes” Staley ’79 P ’11, a member of the Board of Trustees and the CEO of Barclays, visited sex offender and disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein at his private island in 2015, and during his incarceration in Palm Beach, Florida in 2008, according to Bloomberg.
Epstein was convicted of soliciting prostitution involving a minor in 2008 and charged with sex trafficking in July 2019. He was found dead in his Manhattan prison cell this August.
Before joining Barclays, Staley was an executive at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co between 2001 and 2013. At the beginning of his tenure, Staley led the bank’s asset-management division and retained Epstein as a client until 2013, despite Epstein’s felony conviction. According to reporting by the New York Times published in early August, Epstein provided Staley with valuable access to his network of wealthy businessmen and financiers.
A member of the Bowdoin’s Board of Directors since 2007, Staley served as chair of the search committee that hired current president Clayton Rose in 2014. Rose was employed by the investment bank J.P. Morgan between 1981 and 2001.
Senior Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs Scott Hood affirmed the College’s support for Staley but did not speak to his connection to Epstein.
“Jes is a highly regarded member of the Bowdoin community. He has been a deeply engaged alumnus since his graduation in 1979 and has served the College with distinction for over a dozen years as a trustee, as a former chair of the investment committee, and as a champion for inclusion and diversity. He chaired the eighteen-member presidential search committee in 2014-15 and is currently a member of the trustees’ academic affairs and investment committees. Bowdoin has benefitted and continues to benefit greatly from his dedication, energy, and insights,” Hood wrote in an email to the Orient.
In 2008, an internal review at J.P. Morgan recommended that the bank drop Epstein as a client due to the potential risk he represented following his conviction in the same year. This August, the Times reported that another J.P. Morgan executive acted on Staley’s behalf in insisting on maintaining Epstein’s accounts with the bank.
In a statement to Bloomberg, a spokesperson for Barclays, Stephen Doherty, said that Staley “never engaged or paid fees to Mr. Epstein to advise him, or to provide professional services, either in his various roles at J.P. Morgan, or personally.”
According to previous reporting by the Orient, Staley was reprimanded in 2017 for violating laws that protect whistle-blowers. At the time, Hood affirmed the College’s support for Staley.
“Jes is a wonderful and dedicated alumnus and very active and valuable trustee, and we are fortunate that he is part of the Bowdoin community,” he wrote.
This week, Hood wrote that the College’s 2017 statement “was accurate then and is today.”
Staley is in the midst of his third five-year term on the Board of Trustees and will be up for re-election in the spring of 2022.
Staley could not be reached for comment.