Simon English: Culture clash over a boardroom approach

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The Independent Online

Outlook Is the row between Standard Chartered and its largest shareholder, Temasek, a lost-in-translation deal? Probably.

Temasek wants a different board structure, more like the one they favour in its home town, Singapore, where the chief executive reports to a supposed awkward squad of outsiders that keep him on his toes.

Over here, we prefer a more gentlemanly approach where the board is made up of people the chief executive bullied at school (OK, I exaggerate).

Perhaps this is just a clash of cultures. Or perhaps Temasek has noticed that a previously trouble-free bank suddenly got embroiled in fairly gigantic money-laundering allegations and is wondering what on earth the board of directors were doing, concluding that the answer is "nothing" and seriously thinking of selling its 18 per cent holding.

In other times, Temasek would have no shortage of buyers. But just now, bank stock, especially of that magnitude, is not so tempting.

Perhaps they should meet on neutral ground and agree to get over it.