StanChart pair "very happy", downplay Barclays talk

LONDON Wed Aug 1, 2012 4:15pm BST

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LONDON Aug 1 (Reuters) - Standard Chartered's top two executives both said they were "very happy" at the Asia-focused bank as they played down talk linking them to the vacant CEO position at rival Barclays.

Richard Meddings, the finance director tipped as a possible contender for the role left open by last month's sudden exit of Bob Diamond, refused to be drawn specifically on the Barclays job.

"The stories that go around about executive changes are fairly frequent and we never comment on them," he said.

"I'm very happy at Standard Chartered as part of the leadership team, helping to manage a bank that is growing strongly."

Peter Sands, Standard Chartered's Chief Executive, gave a similar response to the Barclays speculation or that he could become the next governor of the Bank of England.

"Our names get linked to various things. I'm certainly very happy, we have a very good bank here we are running and a very good team," said Sands, 50.

Meddings, 54, has been finance director since Sands stepped up to CEO almost six years ago. He was previously finance director at Woolwich, the mortgage lender bought by Barclays, and then became Barclays' group financial controller.

Both Sands and Meddings are highly regarded by analysts and investors. They were speaking after Standard Chartered said first-half profits rose 9 percent, setting it up for a 10th straight year of record profits.

Barclays is searching for a CEO and chairman after both quit following an interest rate rigging scandal, but the jobs may see increased political and regulatory interference, which investors fear could deter candidates. (Reporting by Steve Slater; Editing by David Cowell)

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