Ms Staveley is suing Barclays over claims that PCP and the Abu Dhabi investors it represented were treated unfairly during a 2008 emergency fundraising.
Mr Jones was among the Barclays bankers involved in the fundraising, which saved the bank from a taxpayer bailout. Ms Staveley’s client, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, whom she also helped buy Manchester City FC, became the bank’s largest shareholder after contributing £3.5bn to the deal.
Mr Jones was not part of a parallel criminal trial against former Barclays’ bankers, which collapsed earlier this year, and there is no suggestion he has done anything wrong.
However, the contents of his email posed a reputational risk for someone who has been at the forefront of City efforts to respond on Brexit and coronavirus on behalf of British banks.
The existence of the email was revealed as part of PCP’s written opening statement to the court, which said that a “significant theme of Barclays’ evidence is concerned with seeking to criticise the professional skill and competence of Ms Staveley”.
The document added: “This is regrettably consistent with some attitudes – reflected in some deeply unpleasant personal comments about her – professed by some of Barclays’ most senior staff at the time. See, for example, Mr [Stephen] Jones’ thoroughly unpleasant comments about Ms Staveley” to a colleague on 27 October 2008.
Addressing the High Court on the first day of the trial last Monday, Ms Staveley’s barrister Joe Smouha QC said the case would lay bare the “pre-global financial crisis arrogance” of the banking industry, where the focus was on bonuses, money and “unfortunately also sexism and misogyny”.
Mr Jones has championed efforts to improve City gender equality while working at UK Finance.
He has backed the Women in Finance Charter, which seeks to secure more senior roles for female bankers, and in a speech last September said: “As an industry we have crucial role to play in ensuring we recruit, build and nurture a diverse and inclusive workforce.”