Saturday, April 11, 2009

DBS's CEO passes away

SINGAPORE: The chief executive of Singapore's DBS Bank, Richard Stanley, has died from an infection resulting from being treated for leukaemia. He was 48.

Mr Stanley was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukaemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow, in late January and had been responding well to treatment.

Just on Wednesday, at the bank's annual and extraordinary general meeting, DBS chairman Koh Boon Hwee had told shareholders that Mr Stanley was on track to return to work.

But, in a late-night statement on Friday, DBS said Mr Stanley's condition took a sudden turn for the worse.

It said that after two rounds of chemotherapy earlier this week, his doctors believed his cancer was in remission. But his condition deteriorated rapidly on Friday.

DBS said the unpredictability of the disease has led to severe complications due to infection.

Responding to queries from Channel NewsAsia on Saturday, DBS said Mr Stanley died at 8.36am Saturday, after a brave fight with the disease.

His immediate family was by his side as he slipped away peacefully. Mr Stanley leaves behind his wife Koh Li Peng and three children.

DBS said its staff are deeply saddened and that its thoughts and prayers are with his family during this time of bereavement.

Mr Stanley had been on a leave of absence for 3-6 months since he was diagnosed with leukemia.

In its statement on Saturday, DBS said that during his absence, its chairman Koh Boon Hwee took on an active management oversight role.

Mr Koh has been working closely with the senior management team to ensure continued strong leadership.

DBS said this will continue and there will be no change in the bank's strategic direction.

The bank added the board will announce succession plans in due course.

Mr Koh said that although Mr Stanley had been with DBS for less than a year, he had endeared himself to many people in the bank.

Mr Koh said Mr Stanley also helped strengthen the DBS franchise during a very challenging time for the industry.

"All of us at DBS are deeply saddened by the loss," Mr Koh said. "We will miss Rich and our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this time of bereavement."

During the Lunar New Year earlier this year, Mr Stanley had sought treatment for what appeared to be ordinary flu-like symptoms after experiencing a cough and high fever.

According to doctors, this type of cancer can affect people across all age groups. Symptoms of the disease include tiredness, bone pains, fever and bruising.

Mr Stanley headed Citigroup's China operations before joining DBS in May last year.

During the short period with DBS, he had already seen the bank through difficult events like the structured notes saga, the announcement of a S$4 billion rights issue and the retrenchment of 900 bank employees.

Before that, he had spent 18 years of his banking career in Asia.

Condolences have been coming in from the financial community on news of Mr Stanley's demise.

UOB deputy chairman and CEO Wee Ee Cheong said he was deeply saddened by the news.

OCBC Bank CEO David Conner said Mr Stanley was a former colleague, a good friend and a fine man. He added that Mr Stanley was a very capable banker and his passing is a loss to Asia's banking profession.

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