Friday, 14 June 2024

Bill Winters leads StanChart’s strategic shift, refocusing on Asia for profitability and market share

5 min read

Standard Chartered Bank CEO Bill Winters’ strategic vision and focus on Asia, along with improved financial performance and disciplined management, have driven the bank’s success and its return to profitability, earning him recognition as the inaugural Global CEO of the Year at the TAB Global Leadership Achievement Awards 2023

  • Winters appointed CEO during challenging times in the bank’s history
  • Reconnecting Asia to the rest of the world
  • Strong financial performance with greater discipline in capital and cost management

Bangkok, Thailand, 13 June 2023—Bill Winters, group chief executive of Standard Chartered (StanChart), was recognised as the inaugural Global CEO of the Year, and StanChart named Global Bank of the Year at the Leadership Achievement Awards presented by TAB Global. The event was held in conjunction with The Asian Banker Future of Finance Summit in Bangkok that took place from 12 to 15 June.

The Global CEO of the Year Award recognises the exceptional achievements of CEOs, chairpersons, and boards in the financial services industry worldwide. The award is the highest accolade for any incumbent bank CEO or chairperson. This highly coveted award is one of the most difficult and exclusive recognition programmes in the industry due to its rigorous evaluation process. The award for Global Bank of the Year is presented in conjunction with the Global CEO of the Year in the belief that true leadership results in strong and sustainable franchises. Evaluation and Selection Criteria for Global CEO of the Year and Global Bank of the Year.

Winters appointed CEO during challenging times in the bank’s history

Bill Winters joined StanChart during one of the most challenging times in the bank’s history, amid growing shareholder discontent as its global franchise floundered and its operations faced increasing regulatory scrutiny and sanctions.

Winters was appointed to nurse the bank back to health. He announced a $1.5 billion turnaround strategy that repositioned the bank’s private banking and wealth management, and increased cash investments. He also vastly improved the bank’s digital capabilities and strengthened its position in different markets, especially in Asia.

Reconnecting Asia to the rest of the world

Winters recognised the importance of Asia in the growth of the global economy. StanChart’s 170 years in operations have been rooted in the region’s retail and trade finance business, and Winters has spent the most part of his efforts on returning the bank to its mission in Asia.

He said: “We at Standard Chartered have been consistently focusing on Asia, connecting it to the rest of the world, and intra-Asian trade has never been more important. For the past six to seven years, we’ve improved our profitability and market share and we tried to meld some of the things that have really been part of Asia for a very long time, like cross-border trade. Also living up to the modern day, we’re delivering digital banking strategies by virtue of some partnerships.”

His unwavering attention on growth in emerging markets, particularly in Asia, enabled StanChart to tap into the potential of the region. Profit before tax in Asia grew 8% in 2022 to $3.6 billion, or 75% of the group’s total.

Winters was instrumental in progressively shifting the bank’s infrastructure to the cloud, building banking and platform-as-a-service ventures, and creating new business models such as Nexus and Audax. Under his leadership, StanChart launched digital-only banks such as Mox in Hong Kong, and Trust in Singapore, contributing significantly to the digital transformation of the bank.

Strong financial performance with greater discipline in capital and cost management

Winters’ leadership and strategic vision have been the driving force behind StanChart’s strong financial performance in 2022. It saw a 15% increase in both operating income of $16 billion and profit before tax of $4.8 billion, with 6% growth in income over cost that will allow the bank to further its strategic investment programmes.

The momentum was maintained through to the first quarter (Q1) of 2023 as income grew 13% to reach $4.4 billion, the highest quarterly income the bank has achieved so far.

He is laser-focused on driving improvements in return on tangible equity across all business areas, leading to improved returns for shareholders. The return on tangible equity was up from 3% in 2020 to 8% in 2022, above pre-pandemic levels, and reached 11.9% in Q1 2023, exceeding the 10% goal for the year. While gains were partly buoyed by higher interest rates, they were also supported by greater discipline in capital and cost management, as well as strategic investments.


Click here to view the full list of Leadership Achievement Awards 2023 winners

Click here to see the photo gallery of the Leadership Achievement Awards 2023


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Foo Boon Ping                                                 Chris Kapfer

President and Managing Editor                  Research Director                      

Keywords: Bank Leadership, Growth, Profitability, Turnaround Strategy, Retail Banking, Market Share, Digital Banking, Emerging Markets, Private Banking, Wealth Management, Digital Transformation
Institution: Standard Chartered
Region: Global
People: Bill Winters
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