Standard Chartered has announced that two of its top executives are to step down: Richard Meddings, group finance director and Steve Bertamini, CEO of consumer banking.

Group finance and consumer banking are to be integrated and former wholesale banking boss Mike Rees is to take the helm at the newly created post of deputy chief executive.

The restructuring will create three new "client-focused" units; corporate and institutional, commercial and private banking, and retail.

The changes have been met with suspicion by shareholders and City analysts who have misgiving about the impetus behind Standard Chartered’s major shift in strategy. Shares fell by 4% on the afternoon of the announcement.

In a press release Peter Sands suggested the move was the next logical step after revealing new strategic aspirations in November and implementing the new regional structure on 1 January.

"The reconfiguration of our business is a critical next step as we implement our refreshed strategy and reinvigorate our growth momentum."

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The move will sharpen our focus on distinct customer segments, enabling us to deploy capital, liquidity and investment spend more effectively, and deliver both productivity gains and improvements in the quality of the service and products we offer our customers."

Nevertheless, some analysts see this as evidence of the wholesale bank taking over the broader group.

Mike Rees’ promotion put him in prime position to succeed Peter Sands, which prompted the latter to insist that he’s "not going anywhere".

Patrick Jenkins of The Financial Times pointed out that both leavers are highly regarded whilst Mike Rees’ wholesale banking was top-heavy in the group.

He suggested that Standard Chartered’s falling stock prices (down by almost a quarter on last year) and mounting pressure on chief executive Peter Sand has led to this effort to tighten operations.


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