UPDATE: Nightmare over for UK banker held in
April 30, 2010
DAVID PROCTORS biography as a career banker remains
proudly displayed on the website of Al-Khaliji Bank, the
three-year-old Qatari bank where "we pride ourselves in finding
ways to do things differently".
Outwardly, theres nothing
particularly unusual about that. Bank executives often have
their CVs puffed on the About us tab of their
banks websites. And Gulf banks do it often, both
projecting a progressive image and boasting about the foreign
talent theyve lured to modernize their oil and
gas-drenched emirates as emergent financial centres.
And what bank, particularly an
ambitious start-up like Al-Khaliji with regional ambitions,
wouldnt puff a CV like Proctors? Hes
Cambridge-educated, 25 years a banker, solidly trained at
Midland and then with a long stint at
Bank of America, rising to be its boss in Bangkok, where he
chaired the foreign bankers lobby during the 1990s Thai
financial crisis. In 1999, he made a move to what would seem
the natural habitat of this Peterhouse alumnus, Standard
Chartered, as its global head of client relationships. He was
made CEO of StanCharts European group, then its boss in
the Gulf until 2006, and was a favourite of its former
executive chairman Mervyn Davies now Baron Davies of
Abersoch, Britains minister for trade and investment.
Indeed, as Al-Khaliji gushes of its
"special adviser to the chairman and managing director",
Proctors "breadth of understanding of the banking market
honed in the course of his 25 years in the industry
has equipped him as a natural leader with a proven track
record of success at all points in the economic cycle". Proctor
reads as a combination of process man and safe hand, combining
emerging market exotica with the ambassadorial polish of an
international banker. His experience leasing planes, ships and
oil refineries would also seem perfect for the resource-rich
So, whats wrong with this
picture? And why should anyone care?
Because as with much in this
reclusive, gas-rich Gulf monarchy, one of the worlds
richest yet least transparent countries, not everything is as
it appears. Proctors "special adviser" designation on the
Al-Khaliji website seems as phony as what many anxious foreign
bankers and businessmen in Doha posit is Qatars genuine
commitment to due legal process.
Qatar widely advertises a "worlds best practices"
mantra but that is increasingly questioned internationally of
financial centres across the Gulf as once-soaring Arab
ambitions dissolve in a desert storm of bad debt and
But Qatars claims to openness
and transparency are questionable in Proctors case.
Search the Al-Khaliji website and there is no official
announcement that David Proctor is no longer the banks
CEO. The only public pronouncement on the matter was a
statement posted on the Doha Securities Markets website
in March last year announcing his new position as special
adviser. No reasons were given for the sudden change.
Moreover, Proctor hired in February 2007 to create and
Al-Khaliji into Qatars first regional bank
hasnt actually provided any advice or management for
almost a year, not since Sheikh Hamad Bin Faisal Bin Thani
Al-Thani was installed as the banks new chairman in
February last year. Proctor appears to be caught in a power
struggle within Qatars ruling elite over control of the
emirates emerging financial sector.
|David Proctor's biography as a career banker
remains proudly displayed on the website of Al-Khaliji
Bank, the three-year-old Qatari bank where "we pride
ourselves in finding ways to do things
A senior member of Qatars
remote ruling Al-Thani family, Sheikh Hamad is a former
colleague of Qatars powerful finance minister Yousef
Hussain Kamal. The sheikh was Kamals recent deputy at the
finance ministry and is himself a former commerce minister. The
wealthy Kamal is a prominent businessman in the emirate.
Hes best-known for his long-time chairmanship of the
countrys biggest bank, Qatar National Bank, an Al-Khaliji
competitor. His former vice-chairman at QNB? None other than