Standard Chartered finance director Richard Meddings steps down in boardroom shake-up

 

Standard Chartered has unveiled sweeping changes in its boardroom following reports of discord at the top of the FTSE 100 bank.

Finance director Richard Meddings, who has been the City face of the bank through a host of profit warnings and disappointing trading statements in 2013, is quitting after 11 years. A hunt is now on for a replacement.

Steve Bertamini, boss of  its consumer-banking arm, is also quitting.

Chief executive Peter Sands has survived in post, but wholesale-banking chief Mike Rees, 57, has been promoted to support him in the position of deputy chief executive.

The Evening Standard’s sister paper, The Independent, first revealed the unsettled nature of Standard Chartered’s boardroom in December after high-level sources disclosed disagreements between chairman Sir John Peace, Sands and Meddings. At the time, those disagreements were strenuously denied by the company.

It appeared then that Sands could be for the chop, amid criticisms that it seemed always to be his No 2, Meddings, pictured,who had to talk to the City when there was  bad news.

While he survived the current reshuffle, some analysts said Rees’s elevation, along with a pay rise from £735,000 to £975,000, was a sign that he was being groomed as a successor to Sands in the top job.

Standard Chartered is now also reorganising its business in a move that will see wholesale and consumer banking integrated from April under the stewardship of Rees.

The demise of the Sands-Meddings duo marks the end of an era at the emerging-markets bank. Although Sands got most of the plaudits, between them, they have been credited with avoiding the worst of the financial crisis and steering the bank into commanding positions in fast-growing Asian markets.

But the bank’s fortunes started to slip as it got embroiled in a scandal where US regulators accused it of laundering money for Iranian customers. Standard Chartered settled the claim with a $340m (£206.6 million) fine.

Then, last year saw a number of disappointing trading statements as turbulence in Asia battered the company.

Sources at the bank said Meddings decided to quit after reflecting on his position over the Christmas break and today said in a statement that this “is a natural point for me to step away.”

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