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Standard Chartered said to plan cutting 250 managing directors

[LONDON] Standard Chartered Plc is considering cutting about a quarter of its senior banking positions as part of a plan by Chief Executive Officer Bill Winters to reverse a two-year profit slide at the emerging markets-focused lender, people with knowledge with the matter said.

The British lender, which makes most of its earnings in Asia, plans to cut as many as 250 of about 1,000 managing directors, two of the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. About 50 of those positions will be in the bank's Middle East and North Africa operations, one of the people said.

Mr Winters, 53, a former co-CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co's investment bank, has been seeking ways to restore investor confidence after replacing Peter Sands in June. The bank said last month that it's on track to cut costs by more than US$400 million this year as part of plans laid out by Sands to save about US$1.8 billion through 2017. It has cut about 4,000 jobs so far this year, about 5 per cent of total headcount, Finance Director Andy Halford said.

Simon Kutner, a spokesman for Standard Chartered in London, declined to comment.

The shares have dropped about 26 per cent this year, trailing HSBC Holdings Plc, which is down 19 per cent. Under Sands, the bank lost more than a third of its market value over the past two years.

Standard Chartered operates in 71 countries and has some 90,000 employees, according to its website. While its headquarters are in London, the bank makes about 90 per cent of its revenue and profit from Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The bank may start eliminating jobs as early as this month, while some people will be offered new roles within the company, according to one person.

Mr Winters has said he'll present a strategic update later this year.