* Analyst sees Conner's exit as negative for OCBC
* Conner led acquisition in Indonesia; bought ING Asia
* OCBC shares double over the past decade, outperform rivals
(Adds missing word in quote, fixes format)
By Saeed Azhar
SINGAPORE, Jan 17 David Conner, chief
executive of OCBC, Singapore's second-biggest bank, is
stepping down after a 10-year stint that saw him spearhead the
bank's expansion into Indonesia and purchase ING Group's
Asian private bank.
Samuel Tsien, senior executive vice president and head of
its global corporate bank, will succeed Conner as CEO of
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, the bank said in a statement on
Under Conner's leadership, OCBC overtook United Overseas
Bank as Singapore's second-biggest lender by assets
after DBS Group Holdings.
Conner's retirement could hurt the bank, one analyst said.
"It is definitely negative for the bank given that many
investors associate him for the success of OCBC," said Anand
Pathmakanthan, a banking analyst at Nomura. "We are entering a
period of uncertainty in terms of management."
Connner's departure was expected by markets, but timing was
uncertain, analysts said.
Conner, who joined in April 2002 from Citibank N.A., helped
OCBC take control of insurer Great Eastern Holdings,
buy Bank NISP in Indonesia and swoop on ING's
Asian private bank for a deal worth $1.4 billion in 2010.
OCBC's statement came after the close of trading hours. The
bank's shares ended 2.4 percent higher in a broader market
up 2.1 percent.
Conner's departure was expected by the markets, but the
timing was uncertain.
OCBC shares have doubled in the last 10 years, largely in
line with the rise in the benchmark Singapore stocks, but
outperforming shares of DBS and UOB. The stock however fell by
about 20 percent last year, making it the worst performing
banking stock in Singapore.
The designated CEO Tsien, an internal candidate, joined OCBC
in July 2007 after spending 30 years with Bank of America
Conner worked at Citibank for 25 years and did stints in
Japan, India and Singapore. The U.S.-born executive will remain
on the OCBC board as a non-executive director. Conner was paid a
total of about S$7.5 million dollars in 2010.
OCBC, which earns more than 80 percent of its income from
Singapore and Malaysia, is expected to post a net profit of
S$2.3 billion, little changed from a year ago, according to an
average from 22 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. The bank
reports results in mid-February.
Senior Executive Vice-President Ching Wei Hong was also
named as OCBC'S chief operating officer. The bank also said it
will divide the global corporate bank into corporate banking and
commercial banking, which will be led respectively by George
Lee, currently head of investment banking, and Linus Goh, head
of enterprise banking and financial institutions.
(Editing by Anshuman Daga)