OCBC finance chief steps down

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 May, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 May, 2002, 12:00am

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC), Singapore's smallest retail banking player, has announced that finance director Chris Matten is to quit his post, just a month after a new chief executive took the reins.

Mr Matten, who joined OCBC in January last year, helped the then-chief executive Alex Au Siu-kee mastermind last year's successful takeover of domestic rival Keppel TatLee Bank. It was the bank's biggest acquisition to date.

Mr Matten also oversaw the launch of the OCBC's successful triple-currency S$3.9 billion (about HK$16.86 billion) bond issue following the takeover.

In March, OCBC announced, after a search that lasted more than six months, that David Conner, formerly a Citibank executive, would replace Mr Au. Mr Conner took up his post on April 15.

Late on Thursday OCBC said Mr Matten's resignation was prompted by an 'opportunity to pursue a new set of challenges outside the financial-services industry'. His last day with the bank is expected to be no later than mid-August.

Mr Conner said the board had 'reluctantly' accepted Mr Matten's resignation and would hope to appoint a successor in the near future.

Mr Conner also took the somewhat unusual step of attempting to reassure the bank's shareholders that Mr Matten's imminent departure would not affect the group's performance.

'I also want to reassure our shareholders that Chris' departure will not affect the bank's commitment to improving shareholder value, including the effective management of our capital,' Mr Conner said.

'OCBC Bank has a strong, broad-based and experienced senior management team in place.'

Since he took control, Mr Conner has kept a low profile, refraining from most public engagements except the bank's recent annual general meeting.