(Reuters) - Standard Chartered Plc's investment banking head Simon Cooper has emerged as the internal contender to replace Chief Executive Officer Bill Winters, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.
Cooper is now the "heir apparent" after the outperformance of his advisory and trading unit last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, the report said. (https://on.ft.com/2LRpy4c)
Standard Chartered declined to comment on the report.
Cooper, who is currently based in Singapore, may be returning to the bank's headquarters in London, the FT reported, adding that there have been informal discussions about naming him as deputy CEO.
The report said the bank's chairman Jose Vinals is also considering external candidates for when Winters eventually departs and that the board is conducting its normal "market-mapping" exercise to monitor all potential options.
Winters, who is a former JPMorgan banker, won plaudits from investors during his first three years at the lender from 2015 to 2018 when he repaired its balance sheet and overhauled its lending culture.
Cooper had joined Standard Chartered Group as CEO of its corporate & institutional banking division in 2016 from HSBC, according to the information available on the lender's website. In 2018, he assumed additional responsibility for commercial banking.
(Reporting by Anirudh Saligrama in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Amy Caren Daniel)