The bank said Thursday chief executive Peter Sands will step down in June followed by chairman John Peace next year, in a radical management reshuffle to stem a growth slowdown. In a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange, Peace said "2014 was a challenging year, and our performance was disappointing" but added that the bank took "decisive action" last year to reposition itself for the future.
Operating income fell two percent year-on-year to $18.23 billion while profit before tax stood at $5.19 billion down 25 percent from 2013. "We faced a perfect storm," Sands said in the statement underlining negative sentiment to emerging markets, a sharp drop in commodity prices and a welter of regulatory challenges.
"Some of the decisions we took in the past look less good now than they did at the time, such as Korea, which in 2014 made a loss before tax of $145 million," he said. "It is obviously one of the more challenging sets of numbers I have had to explain," said Sands, who has worked at the bank for 13 years. Former J.P. Morgan investment bank head Bill Winters will replace Sands, which had issued three profit warnings over the past 12 months that had sparked shareholder calls for a boardroom cull.