'Pak-origin Naguib Kheraj may be new Standard Chartered chairman'

Written by PTI | London | Updated: Jul 24 2014, 20:19pm hrs
Standard CharteredStandard Chartered scotched speculation about imminent changes in its top leadership due to 'investor pressure'. Reuters
Banking giant Standard Chartered today scotched speculation about imminent changes in its top leadership due to "investor pressure", even as reports suggested that Pakistani-origin Naguib Kheraj could be its next Chairman.

UK-based bank, which has a significant focus on Asia including India and has three Indians on its board, has been facing pressure from its shareholders amid falling share price and repeated profit warnings.

Amid speculation that some large investors were gunning for changes in top leadership positions, including that of CEO Peter Sands and Chairman John Peace, the bank issued a statement this morning that its board was "united in its support of both Sands and Peace".

Besides Peace and Sands, the board comprises Andy Halford (Group Finance Director) and three Executive Directors -- Jaspal Bindra, V Shankar and Mike Rees.

In addition to Bindra and Shankar, the board of Stanchart, which is also listed in India, also includes another Indian former State Bank of India Chief O P Bhatt as an independent non-executive director.

According to media reports, another non-executive director Naguib Kheraj's name is doing the rounds as a possible successor to Peace as Chairman.

"If Sir John were to go, Naguib Kheraj, a current non-executive and the former Barclays finance director, is widely seen as a natural successor," a report in Financial Times said.

The report said "earlier suggestions that Sands could be elevated to chairman have been dismissed by insiders".

Among current board members of Stanchart, Bindra is Group Executive Director & CEO for Asia, while Shankar is Group Executive Director & CEO for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Americas.

Among large global banks, Germany's Deutsche Bank currently has Indian-origin Anshu Jain as one of the two co-CEOs. Besides, US banking giant Citigroup had Vikram Pandit as its global chief till 2012.

Incidentally, weeks before Pandit was appointed as Citigroup chief in late 2007, there were reports about Pakistani-origin Shaukat Aziz also being in the race for the top job at the banking major.

As per another report in the Times daily, institutional shareholders are saying that "there was a widespread feeling that the leadership team needed refreshing after two profit warnings in seven months and pointed to Sands as their preferred scalp."