StanChart chief plans to cut about 1,000 top staff: memo

Fri Oct 9, 2015 10:01am EDT
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By Anshuman Daga and Steve Slater

SINGAPORE/LONDON (Reuters) - Standard Chartered's (STAN.L: Quote) new Chief Executive Bill Winters plans to cut about 1,000 of the bank's most senior staff to reduce costs, according to a memo sent to staff, as he battles to revive the bank following a sharp drop in profits.

The cull shows the scale of the overhaul Winters is planning at the Asia-focused bank, which he has said needs to speed up decision-making on costs, people and strategy, and improve its risk management and profitability.

Winters said he planned to reduce by a quarter the number of staff graded in bands 1 to 4, the memo seen by Reuters said. Those bands cover bankers at director level and higher and include about 4,000 staff.

"Our situation requires decisive and immediate action," Winters told staff. "Each member of the management team has a mission to drive through improvements in our returns and part of this will be further streamlining of our organization."

Winters, a former JP Morgan (JPM.N: Quote) investment bank boss who took over in June after the ousting of predecessor Peter Sands, said the bank would also make disposals and cut clients.

Disposals would be in areas where the bank was "not differentiated", or an activity or location "was not critical to a core strength."

Standard Chartered shares were up 5.3 percent at 788.4 pence by 1310 GMT. The shares have rallied 26 percent in the last eight trading days amid optimism Winters can get on top of its problems, but are still down 42 percent since the start of 2014.

Standard Chartered has had a troubled three years due to weakness in many of its key emerging markets, rising losses from bad loans in India, China and on commodities, as well as fines from U.S. regulators and strained relations with shareholders.   Continued...

People walk past the head office of Standard Chartered bank in the City of London February 27, 2015