[LONDON] Viswanathan Shankar, Standard Chartered Plc's head of Europe, Middle East, Africa and Americas said he's leaving the bank after 13 years to start a private equity firm, as the bank overhauls its management.
"It was a voluntary resignation," he said by telephone Wednesday. "There was no question of strategic differences." Mr Shankar, 57, will step down from the board on April 30, London-based Standard Chartered said in a statement. The lender also hired Jonathan Paul, the founder of Ardmore Park Capital, as group head of financial markets based in Singapore and named Sumit Dayal as group head of its corporate finance unit.
"I've been toying with the idea because I started the private equity business here after I joined Standard Chartered," Mr Shankar said. "It would be reasonable size deals and focus on the markets that I'm intimately familiar with, both from Standard Chartered and Bank of America, which is essentially Asia, Africa and the Middle East." The new vehicle will target an initial fundraising "somewhere in the range" of US$1 billion, though the plans are at an early stage and the fund won't open it until he leaves the bank, he said.
Mr Shankar, who spent 19 years at Bank of America Corp before he joined Standard Chartered in 2001 as group head of corporate finance, is the latest senior executive to leave the lender which generates most of its revenue in Asia. The bank hired Bill Winters, former joint head of investment banking at JPMorgan Chase & Co, to be its new chief executive officer to turn around the company, which was the worst-performing bank stock in Britain last year.
"I would like to thank Shankar for the service he has given to Standard Chartered over the last 13 years," chairman John Peace said in the statement. "These new appointments further demonstrate the substantial progress we are making in attracting and developing top leadership talent to the group." As a result of Wednesday's change, the board will have three executive directors as part of a plan to reduce its size.
After the changes, 14 directors will have left Standard Chartered's board and 13 will have joined to help reverse faltering earnings growth.
Deputy CEO Mike Rees weathered a senior management exodus after falling earnings and a 39 per cent drop in shares in the last two years drew the ire of investors. CEO Peter Sands, Peace and Asia head Jaspal Bindra are leaving the bank and most of the board relinquished their bonuses.
Mr Shankar will receive his base salary and other fixed pay until mid-October, or earlier if he and the bank agree, Standard Chartered said in Wednesday's statement. He will get a US$280,000 pay-off and retain unvested awards subject to clawback, but won't be eligible for a bonus for 2015 performance.