Blue chip FD of the year: Richard Meddings

by Accountancy Age

18 Nov 2009

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There was tough competition for the role of Blue Chip Finance Director of the Year, but after much deliberation and against a group of the UK’s most highly respected financial managers it was Richard Meddings, FD at Standard Chartered Bank, who emerged as the first choice of our judges.

Part of the so called “crisis cabinet”, which formulated the first bank bailout package in partnership with the government, the judges’ comments summed up his performance like this: “Not only has he played a great part in leading the bank from the front, but he has put his personal reputation on the line in advising government on how to handle the crisis. This really has been his year.”

Self-effacing and gently ribbed by his wife, who calls him Mother Teresa for his role in the bailouts, Meddings was also part of a management team in one of the few banks that steered clear of trouble in the crisis, did not require a bailout and posted a rise in pre-tax profits of 13% to £3.2bn earlier this year.

The combination of both counsel, among others, to government and the bank’s business performance, prompted one judge to say: “This has been an exceptional year for Richard.”

Meddings became group finance director at Standard Chartered in 2006 having joined the board in 2002 as group executive director for growth and governance across Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan, Europe and the Americas. Prior to Standard, Meddings was finance director at Woolwich, which was later acquired by Barclays.

He stayed on with the merged company working through the ranks from financial controller to chief operating officer for Barclays Private Clients.

He also serves as chairman of Seeing is Believing, the community investment project set up by Standard Chartered which restores sight to individuals around the world and has raised $10m (£7m) for investment in 17 countries across 32 projects. Seeing is Believing is now working to raise $20m for eye care in partnership with the World Health Organisation.

SOUL AND CONSCIENCE

Does CFO of Standard Chartered Richard Meddings think it has been a tough year for the bankers? In a word, yes.“It has become very pressured… it’s a hard factual, numbers-based role, which requires a strong work ethic,”says Meddings. “I think the role of a CFO is obviously soul and conscience and worrier. There’s a high anxiety content and one of the challenges of the job is always how to do that and not over-display it because it’s a role where you have to exude confidence and decisiveness.”

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