Standard Chartered has appointed a new head of the team that will shape and execute its future strategy within Corporate, Commercial and Institutional Banking (CCIB). Pierre Paoli, who previously worked for Boston Consulting Group in London, has joined the bank in Singapore as CCIB global head of strategic initiatives.
Paoli, who is a managing director, now has a lot on his plate at Stan Chart. CCIB strategic initiatives is an expanding unit which is located alongside the senior management team in Singapore and has taken on new importance since Stan Chart announced further restructuring plans last month to help turn around its business.
Stan Chart aims to trim $700m in costs in the next three years and cut back low-return operations in markets such as India, Indonesia and South Korea. The bank’s 2018 cost-to-income ratio of 69.9% was only a marginal improvement from 2017 (70.8%), and its share price has fallen almost 40% since CEO Bill Winters took over in June 2015.
The strategic initiatives team is core to Stan Chart’s search for new growth opportunities. It “works under the guidance of CCIB management team and directly with the business impacted by the programmes it implements”, according to the bank’s careers website.
Paoli has essentially gone from external to in-house consultancy. He had worked for BCG since 2007, most recently as a partner and managing director leading the wholesale banking practice for Western Europe. He is not the only ex-consultant to move to a CCIB strategic initiatives job at Stan Chart in recent months. Jay Cheah joined the team in Singapore in October following a 10-year stint at Oliver Wyman in Hong Kong, latterly as a principal in the corporate and institutional banking practice.
Paoli is now looking to bring more people on board. His team currently has five Singapore-based vacancies, three of which have only been online for a few days, and four of which are at associate director level and above. Banking consulting experience with a first-tier consultancy firm and/or within a strategy function at a bank is a must.
What does it take to work for Paoli? Above all, you’ll need to collaborate closely with other units of the bank, including the finance, COO, and CIO teams. You’ll also need to come up with strategies that support Stan Chart’s “innovation agenda”. The bank’s careers site doesn’t explain exactly what this means, but its 2018 Annual Report notes that spending on ‘strategic’ or ‘systems enhancement’ IT (i.e. emerging technology) has trebled to $900m over three years. Stan Chart is partnering with Ant Financial in blockchain cross-border remittance and using machine learning to create financial crime surveillance tools, for example.
But why would a consultant currently covering multiple banks at BCG or Oliver Wyman want to be pigeonholed into a job purely focused on Stan Chart? The bank claims that new recruits don’t necessarily have to stay within strategic initiatives over the long term because the team is a “talent incubator” for the broader CCIB business.
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