StanChart CEO Winters grabs reins in management shake-up

Standard Chartered chief executive Bill Winters.
Standard Chartered chief executive Bill Winters.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Standard Chartered chief executive Bill Winters will take more direct responsibility for the bank's biggest business divisions, as he seeks to restore the fortunes of the emerging markets-focused bank.

Under a new management structure to be phased in from Oct. 1, the heads of major business units will report directly to Winters rather than his deputy, Mike Rees, StanChart said on Sunday.

"The group needs to kick-start performance, reduce its cost base and bureaucracy ... and speed up decision making," Winters said in a statement. The lender is aiming for cost savings of US$1.8 billion by the end of 2018.

StanChart's shares fell by a third over the past two years, hurt by problems including fines from US regulators for misconduct, plunging commodities prices and a weakened trading environment.

The stock has recovered by 5 per cent this year, after the lender said in January it would eliminate around 4,000 jobs and close its struggling equities division. Mr Winters, a former JPMorgan banker, took over in June.

The new structure sees Mr Winters take over StanChart's investment bank, commercial and private bank, and retail banking divisions, the three major units that had previously reported to Rees.

Mr Rees, who was deputy to previous Chief Executive Peter Sands and who oversaw the buildout of the investment banking division, is the most senior survivor of the bank's previous management regime.

Mr Rees will work with Mr Winters on the formulation of the bank's strategy, StanChart said.