In a pow wow session of local banks, most of the CEOs present were foreigners. Even the top local bank is represented by a foreigner who ‘may have just turned citizen.’ Sitting at the discussion panel organized by the Institute of Banking and Finance were ‘Lester Gray, CEO, Asia Pacific, Schroder Investment Management; Loh Boon Chye, managing director, head of corporate and investment bank, Asia Pacific, Deutsche Bank; Piyush Gupta, group CEO, DBS Bank; and Ray Ferguson, regional CEO, Singapore and South East Asia, Standard Chartered Bank.’
The only local sitting in the panel of CEOs was only a MD. A participant asked why there were so few local CEOs and the replied was that the banks were not concerned with nationalities but with experience. So the daft Singaporeans would still need to wait to be experienced. And hopefully someone will give them the experience and the chance to make mistakes. The Sinkie culture is not to take risk and not to try out the locals. On the other hand, foreigners were given all the opportunities to gain experience and make mistakes, even in Singapore.
So, how are Singaporeans going to gain experience and become CEOs when they are not even given the chance to gain experience? By the way things are developing, in the next 30 years or more, the daft Singaporeans will all be waiting to gain experience to become CEOs, even of local banks. And very likely during this period, all the local banks will be headed by foreign CEOs. The only exception is UOB if it is not forced to put a foreign CEO to take over the banking empire that Wee Cho Yaw has built.
Kind of embarrassing isn’t it? Actually it is not embarrassing. It is stupidity of the extreme kind. Our locals better go overseas to try to be CEOs there and hope that those countries are stupid enough, like us, to let them gain experience and make mistakes as CEOs.
I am waiting to see who will be the next foreign CEO to take over UOB.