Outlook: Jobs for the local boys

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In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Standard Chartered had an unenviable reputation for being a not very successful relic of Empire. A string of sour loans to the likes of Polly Peck and Brent Walker brought the international bank's UK expansion to a stop. Malcolm Williamson was parachuted in from Barclays to clean the place up and "decolonialise" the bank, or in other words to clear out all those creaking relics of Britain's imperial past. Now the bank's management has far fewer chaps sent out from London, and rather more locally recruited people.

Rana Talwar's appointment yesterday as the man to succeed Mr Williamson is thus a defining moment in more ways than one. Whilst the bank insists Mr Talwar's selection was on merit alone - and his globetrotting career with Citicorp speaks for itself - the appointment of an Asian, and a native from one of Britain's former colonies at that, will both accelerate the modernisation of the bank as well as acting as a powerful role model for the recruitment of local management talent. Asia's financial woes will continue to knock the bank's share price, but structurally and professionally, it seems to be improving all the time. What an advance on 10 years ago.