Standard Chartered board to discuss CEO succession at meeting: sources

Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:44am EST
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By Steve Slater

LONDON (Reuters) - Standard Chartered's (STAN.L: Quote) board will discuss succession planning at a meeting in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, people familiar with the matter said, following speculation it was seeking a new chief executive.

The meeting is a regularly scheduled board gathering, the Asian-focused bank said, declining to discuss further details, or the agenda.

However, it was inevitable issues around the succession of Chief Executive Peter Sands would come up, two people familiar with the matter said.

Pressure has built on Sands in recent weeks after a string of problems. Three of the bank's top 30 investors told Reuters in December that Sands should be replaced, probably in 2015, and scrutiny of his position has intensified this week.

British bookmaker Ladbrokes said it had suspended betting on whether Sands would be ousted or leave this year after taking a small number of bets. Such a suspension is usually a sign that something is regarded as a virtual certainty.

Headhunting firm Egon Zehnder is among the firms assessing potential CEOs, sources have said.

Former McKinsey consultant Sands, 53, steered Standard Chartered through the financial crisis, helping it to 10 years of record earnings, but is now in danger of being ousted after two bad years. He has been CEO for eight years.

Shareholders said there have been strategic, governance and operational mistakes, and Sands was too slow to address problems and had not gone far enough in cutting costs.   Continued...

An office worker walks past a Standard Chartered logo outside its head office in Singapore January 8, 2015. REUTERS/Edgar Su