DBS Group Holdings announced two senior appointments yesterday, both former veteran Citi bankers. Sebastian Paredes will join as chief executive officer of DBS Hong Kong, and Sim Lim will take up a newly created post as DBS’s Singapore country manager.
Paredes, an Ecuadorian citizen, spent 20 years at Citi, with top positions in South America, the Middle East, Asia, Europe and Africa, before joining Indonesia’s Bank Danamon as president director in 2005. As CEO of Citigroup South Africa and regional head of sub-Saharan Africa between 2002 and 2005 Paredes had responsibility for 11 markets. He has built a reputation for managing in complex and volatile market environments.
His job as boss of Danamon ended earlier this year. Under his five-year leadership, the bank more than doubled its loan book, expanded its customer base from 2 million to 5.2 million and grew revenues by over 240%. As well as strengthening its position in retail and commercial banking, Danamon made inroads into new businesses such as consumer finance and micro lending.
Temasek Holdings, Singapore's state investment company, owns 68% of Danamon and 28% of DBS (as at March 31, 2010), according to its 2010 annual report.
Paredes will start his new job at DBS on September 13, subject to regulatory approvals. He replaces Amy Yip, who retires at the end of the year, having spent four years as CEO of DBS Hong Kong.
“Through her leadership, Amy has helped the bank stay the course in Hong Kong during the 2008 economic downturn and also to capture renewed business opportunities amid the recovery in recent quarters,” said DBS CEO Piyush Gupta in a statement yesterday.
Last month, Peter Seah, the chairman of DBS Group Holdings, and Gupta were appointed to the DBS Hong Kong board as chairman and board member, respectively. Seah succeeded Kwa Chong Seng who stepped down as DBS Hong Kong board chairman on July 26.
The Lion City’s biggest lender has also decided to create a new dedicated Singapore country manager role, which will be consistent with the way DBS is currently organised in other countries -- in effect, Paredes will also be Hong Kong country manager. The bank has more than 240 branches across six major markets, including Hong Kong, China, India, Indonesia and Taiwan.
“The new role is in line with recent moves to put in place an organisational structure and framework that will enable the bank to provide its customers with a seamless customer experience across the region,” said a spokesperson.
The first person to take up the role as Singapore country manager will be Singaporean citizen Sim S Lim, who starts on September 1.
During his 26-year banking career, the bulk of which has been spent in Asia, Lim has held posts in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, the Middle East and the US. He was most recently president and CEO of Citigroup Global Markets Japan, a position he held from June 2008 to December last year. During this time, Lim was also a board member of Citigroup Japan Holdings Corp.
During his international banking career, Lim has also held a wide variety of roles. From April 2007 to June 2008, he was country officer, Hong Kong and also chairman of Citibank Hong Kong. During his time there, he managed the Citigroup Hong Kong country franchise, including developing the strategy for its Hong Kong markets and banking franchise, and providing support to the consumer and wealth management businesses.
Between October 2003 and March 2007, Lim was regional head of emerging markets sales and trading for Asia-Pacific, based in Singapore. During this period, he was also the non-executive chairman of Citibank Berhad Malaysia.
Both Paredes and Lim will report directly to Gupta, also a former Citi banker.
Commenting on the two appointments, Gupta said he believes that, “as Singapore country manager, Sim will help us to develop a more acute customer focus and better leverage our home market presence, so as to deliver greater synergy and value. In Hong Kong, our second-largest market, I am confident that Sebastian (Paredes) will re-energise the franchise and take it to the next level.”
“Our ambition is to be a leading Asian Bank with a strong presence in the region’s three key axes of growth – Southeast Asia, South Asia and Greater China,” he added.