Not many bankers will strip off and sing in a perfect falsetto in public.
But Bill Winters, who has been appointed the new boss of Standard Chartered after a radical shakeup of its executive team, once shed his shirt (showing off a freshly waxed chest) for a charity video entitled Life’s a Pitch, along with other City executives. He even delivered a decent solo. The film was shown at a fundraiser in 2013 for the Young Vic theatre London, helping to raise £250,000.
Winters is a respected global banker, who sits on the Young Vic’s board, and has been running his own hedge fund in London since being ousted from JPMorgan Chase in 2009.
The 53-year-old American shot to prominence a decade ago as co-head of investment banking at the Wall Street giant, based in London. A star banker, he had been tipped as a possible successor to JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon, but departed after falling out with him.
Winters was said to have alerted the bank early on about the risks it was taking, which led to it racking up losses of $6bn in 2012. Popular with his colleagues, he also showed public humility at a time when other investment bankers were in denial. Shortly before he was fired, he said some bankers had been greedy and inept.
Winters joined JPMorgan as a trainee in New York in 1983 and worked his way up, moving to London in 1992 as head of European fixed income. In 2004 he was promoted to co-head of investment banking. He steered the division through the 2008 financial crisis and was closely involved in the acquisition and integration of collapsed rival Bear Stearns. After leaving JPMorgan, Winters set up investment firm Renshaw Bay in London, and has been advising insurance entrepreneur Clive Cowdery’s Resolution vehicle on buying up asset-management businesses.
As one of five members of the independent commission on banking, Winters has also been also one of the architects of UK banking reform. The commission was set up in the early days of the coalition government and submitted its report to the chancellor in September 2011. Its recommendation that firms should separate their high street banking operations from the trading floor is being implemented.
Winters has been linked with a series of high-profile jobs over the years, including the chief executive of Barclays after Bob Diamond left, as well as the top job at UBS. Now he has finally landed one – but he has his work cut out at the scandal-ridden emerging markets bank.
This article was written by Julia Kollewe, for theguardian.com on Thursday 26th February 2015 12.28 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010