FT Thursday 24th July 2014

Bricks come loose from Standard Chartered tower amid whispering campaign.


Sir John Peace (above) is Chairman of the Board of Standard Chartered. But for how much longer?

Standard Chartered, one of the few global banking institutions to have traversed the 2008 financial crisis unscathed, looks set to enter a period of turmoil. The FTSE 100 listed bank is headquartered in London but operates in emerging markets, particularly Asia. Standard Chartered was until 2012 the success story of the FTSE, and its executive team could strut confidently and justifiably around London’s elite circles. It has emerged though in recent weeks amid profits falling by a “disappointing” 20%, the peacock may not strut so confidently for much longer. Major shareholders are beginning to ask questions about the suitability of senior management to continue. Chairman Sir John Peace has faced hostile votes from shareholders, and it has been put to him that he has not invested as much time into the bank as he should. Sir John is also the chairman of Burberry and only recently gave up the same position at Experian after considerable shareholder pressure. The future of CEO Peter Sands and powerful deputy CEO Mike Rees are also in question, and their survival may well depend on the short-term performance of the bank. It is unclear as to whether major investors will give the senior management the time that they will want to turn the bank around, with the share price performing well below the FTSE 100 since 2009.  


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