THE Burnley-born former chief executive of Barclays, Martin Taylor, has said the bank has a major job to rebuild its reputation after its “systematic dishonesty” over interest rate fixing.

As the fall-out from the scandal which led to the resignation of chairman Martin Agius and current chief executive Bob Diamond continues, he spoke out about the damage it had done.

The crisis has already seen Barclays fined £290m for manipulating the Libor interbanks’ borrowing rate and seen its forecast lowered by credit ratings agency Moody’s as well as losing it two top men.

Mr Taylor, boss of Barclays from 1994 to 1997, spoke out on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme.

The former pupil at Sunnybank School, in Burnley, said: “There's not much to a bank except its licence, computer systems and reputation.

"If you go for a policy of systematic dishonesty, you have some rebuilding to do and I’m sure the board will be very conscious of that.”

He said that it was “hard to believe that a policy which seems so systematic wasn’t known to people at or very near the top of the bank.”

Mr Taylor said that the bank should explain who knew what: “The question of how high up knowledge of this goes is something only Barclays can answer. I think they should answer.

“These organisations are very large, as I know myself, and the chief executive doesn’t always know everything that's happening in the organisation, though he’s responsible for setting the tone of the organisation.

“But somebody at senior level somewhere will certainly have known.

“I can't believe Barclays haven't identified who that is. They've been investigating for years, so have the Financial Services Authority, and no doubt they will take appropriate action.”

Mr Taylor's tenure at Barclays was marked by problems at investment bank arm BZW and a perception that he disliked investment banking.

On leaving Barclays, Mr Taylor, whose family lived in Rossendale Road, Burnley, Padiham and Simonstone, became chairman of retailer WH Smith from 1999 to 2003 and an international adviser to investment bank Goldman Sachs from 1999 to 2005.

He has been chairman of Swiss agrochemicals business Syngenta since 2005.

At Barclay’s he earned £1 million a year and received a £1.6 million pay off with £3.2 million in shares and options when he left in 1999 compared to Mr Diamond who took home more than £100 million in pay, pensions and bonuses since 2005 and is refusing to give up his £20 million 'Golden Goodbye'.