StanChart chief pushes back on report that its biggest shareholder is unhappy

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Standard Chartered Chief Executive Bill Winters said Temasek, the bank's largest shareholder, is "very supportive" of the company.

Standard Chartered's largest shareholder is "very supportive" of the company, chief executive Bill Winters said Wednesday, following a report that it is increasingly unhappy with his restructuring efforts.

Singapore's state-owned investment arm Temasek has been putting the bank under pressure, requesting more frequent briefings from executives and even mulling a position on the firm's board, the Financial Times newspaper reported Monday, citing two people with knowledge of the matter.

But Winters on Wednesday pushed back against that report, saying "I'd be surprised if I read anything in the Financial Times which I hadn't heard from them directly."

"They have been a very supportive shareholder throughout," he told CNBC's Geoff Cutmore at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "We have an extremely active dialogue with all of our large shareholders, of course including Temasek."

The FT also reported that Temasek would prefer an external replacement for Winters once he steps down as chief. It highlighted Piyush Gupta, chief executive of Singaporean bank DBS as a preferred replacement.

Temasek currently owns an almost 16 percent stake in the bank, according to Standard Chartered's latest filing, making it the biggest shareholder. The London-based lender is known for its focus on emerging markets, with most of its revenues coming from Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

The bank's share price has fallen more than 40 percent since Winters took the helm in 2015. Winters said StanChart's share price is "not where we want it to be" and that it knows it has "further to go" in its turnaround plan.

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