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Standard Chartered's changes include a warning on how not to advance your career

If you want to get ahead in an investment bank and to take the job currently occupied by your boss, you should probably not let it be known that you're taking courses that will help you to replace him. This is seemingly what Simon Cooper, the outgoing head of Standard Chartered's investment bank, once did.

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Bloomberg reported yesterday that Cooper, who aspired to replace Bill Winters as Standard Chartered's CEO, took some courses on leadership and development two years ago to help prepare for Winters' job. Two years later, Winters is going nowhere and Cooper is disappearing to "pursue other interests" after apparently becoming frustrated at his lack of progress.

The exit of Cambridge-educated Cooper, who joined from HSBC in 2016, leaves the running of the investment bank split between Roberto Hoornweg and Sunil Kaushal. Hoorneg, who is a former UBS and Brevan Howard fixed income trader, will be moving from Singapore to Dubai to take up his new job. Kaushal, who is a commercial banker and has been at Standard Chartered since 2015, will be moving from Dubai to Singapore.

The change implies that Standard Chartered's markets business will be run out of Dubai in the future. The bank has had a trading floor there since 2008 and has a cluster of credit and structured credit traders in the Emirate. It's not clear how markets professionals in Singapore and Hong Kong will feel about this, particularly as Bloomberg says Cooper's exit and Hoornweg's move will be followed by a Citigroup-style elimination of management layers that could result in the disappearance of desk heads. 

Amidst the changes, some insiders are noting that one of the most popular bankers at Standard Chartered in Asia has also been given a more global remit. Benjamin Hung, who's worked for the bank since 1992 and has been Asia CEO since 2021, is becoming president of "International." Now that Cooper's gone, Hung is being tipped as a possible quiet contender for Winters' job in future. He probably doesn't want to take leadership lessons just yet.

Standard Chartered didn't respond to a request to comment.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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