Sat, Nov 21, 2020 – 5:50 AM
CIMB Singapore has dropped three long-time banking heads, as the lender restructures its business amid dismal results in the Republic.
The three business heads cut are Josandi Thor, head of consumer banking; Yong Jiunn Run, head of commercial banking; and Lai Ven-Li, head of corporate banking.
The Business Times understands that this was announced in an internal memo to Singapore staff earlier this week. This was first reported by financial services website eFinancialCareers.
In response to queries from BT, a spokesperson from the bank said that it does not comment on internal memos for confidentiality reasons.
In the memo, CIMB Singapore’s chief executive Victor Lee had told staff that letting go of the three department heads was a “hard decision”.
But it was a decision that the group management had to make after reviewing various options, he said.
“This unprecedented pandemic has severely affected the economy and our business, forcing us to take a hard look at our business model and direction,” he wrote.
The bank had conducted a “detailed analysis” of CIMB Singapore’s business and has recalibrated its strategy to focus on sustainable growth.
This would involve reshaping business portfolios and driving cost efficiency across the bank, as well as streamlining the leadership structure and enabling the CEO to focus on key areas impacting the business, he wrote.
The bank will announce its new Singapore leadership team “shortly”.
Among the trio that is leaving the bank, at least two have been with the bank for almost a decade.
Ms Thor has been with CIMB for slightly more than 10 years, having started out there as the head of marketing.
Mr Yong has been with CIMB since 2011, and had joined the bank from OCBC, where he was the business head of the global enterprise banking division.
No publicly available information on Ms Lai’s tenure is available at the moment.
Sources told BT that there have been talks of restructuring within the Singapore office since the middle of the year, with the possibility of wider lay-offs here.
One observer told BT, on the condition of anonymity, that Mr Lee has been seeking to restructure his senior management team. This strategy shift has included hiring some people with whom he had previously worked.
Sources said that at least one of the axed trio could not see eye to eye with Mr Lee on the direction of the business.
Again, CIMB declined to comment.
Mr Lee took over as CEO of CIMB Singapore at the start of this year. He is also the chief executive of CIMB Group commercial banking.
CIMB Singapore’s performance in its first half was lacklustre, with losses of RM939 million (S$309 million) on the back of impairments, dragging down group performance.