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DBS hires Citibank Singapore CEO to head group strategy

Han Kwee Juan joins CEO Piyush Gupta as another 'Citi lifer' who crossed over to the local bank

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Mr Han, 51, will occupy the role held previously by Shee Tse Koon, who was appointed DBS' Singapore country head last year.

Singapore

DBS has snagged former Citibank Singapore CEO Han Kwee Juan, who will from April take on the role of group head of strategy and planning.

The 51-year-old will occupy the role held previously by Shee Tse Koon, who was appointed DBS' Singapore country head last year, DBS announced on Monday.

Mr Han will report to CEO Piyush Gupta, and be a member of the group management committee.

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Mr Han had spent 27 years with the US bank, leading businesses in consumer banking, corporate banking and transaction banking.

He became Citibank Singapore CEO in 2012, and took charge of Citi's consumer banking business in Singapore. The role gave him oversight of Citi's onshore retail banking, wealth management, cards and personal loans, mortgage as well as retail SME (small and medium enterprises) businesses in Singapore.

His resignation was first reported by The Business Times on Friday. In the staff memo announcing the resignation, as seen by BT, Citi said Mr Han had "championed innovation targeted at addressing market gaps, as well as driven the digital transformation of the business".

Mr Han joins Mr Gupta as another "Citi lifer" who has hopped over to the Singapore bank. Before taking on the top job at DBS in late 2009, Mr Gupta was Citi's CEO for Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. He spent 27 years at Citi, beginning at Citibank India in 1982. He took over the CEO role at DBS after the death of Richard Stanley, also formerly from Citi.

In a press statement, Mr Gupta said DBS has over the years made it a point to build its leadership primarily through growing its own timber, which has resulted in "many capable leaders".

"However, from time to time, it is also good to supplement our bench with external talent, allowing us to gain from new perspectives. Kwee Juan will be a good addition, and I look forward to leading this solid team as we continue on our journey to enrich lives, transform businesses and make a sustainable difference in the communities we operate in," Mr Gupta added.

DBS in late 2018 made several changes to its senior management team. It said this would ensure a smooth transition ahead of the retirement of DBS' group head of institutional banking Jeanette Wong, who retires officially on March 1. Ms Wong's role has been taken up by Tan Su Shan, the former group head of consumer banking and wealth management.

Sim S Lim, the former Singapore country head at DBS, took on Ms Tan's role on Jan 1. Mr Shee, now the Singapore country head, joined DBS in 2016 from Standard Chartered Bank. He was previously country head of StanChart Indonesia.