Standard Chartered’s chief is now under fire from within and without

 

Outlook Peter Sands’s hold on the chief executive position at Standard Chartered seems ever more tenuous. Yesterday, an exhaustively researched story in the Financial Times was splashed across its front cover, with a further page inside, documenting the extreme difficulties the emerging markets bank is going through.

Having been an aggressive expander in its core Asian heartland, it is falling down the league tables just as dramatically.

Investors are restless, while top staff are feeling the strain.

While the slides in its market positions were astonishing – from eighth place to 21st in Asian project finance – few of the other claims were especially new. The difference seemed to be that they were based on conversations with such large numbers of investors, directors, staff and analysts – pretty much all of them in the anti-Sands camp.

The other key difference is this: its prominence in the newspaper with more banking clout than almost any other.

The board must have already been spooked by the attacks on Mr Sands by banking blogger Emmanuel Daniel (after reading which you can’t help feel sorry for the bloke).

But being pilloried by the Pink ’Un in such a way – and the FT delivers more of the same today – is an appalling indictment of the bank’s leader. It shows not only that his running of the business is questionable, but that he’s completely lost his grip on communication with the outside world.

Don’t be surprised if shareholders demand signs of succession planning at next month’s interim results.

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