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John Olds decides to move on

Olds joined DBS as CEO in mid-1998, the First foreigner to run a Singapore bank. He has since been overseeing a complete overhaul of the bank’s business lines, transforming the institution from the last vestiges of its role as a traditional development bank lending at low margins, to one hoping to dominate at the retail and wholesale level, both in Singapore and Asia-wide.

       
John Olds

John Olds sits in his office on the 45th floor of DBS Tower One, outlining what he hopes will be an ever-improving set of results for the largest of Singapore's banks. Olds joined DBS as CEO in mid-1998, the First foreigner to run a Singapore bank. He has since been overseeing a complete overhaul of the bank's business lines, transforming the institution from the last vestiges of its role as a traditional development bank lending at low margins, to one hoping to dominate at the retail and wholesale level, both in Singapore and Asia-wide.


DBS's return on equity has always been low, rising from 1.3% in 1998 to just 10% in 1999. That's hardly unusual for the banks in Singapore, except for United Overseas Bank, whose non-banking assets, especially property, usually push its return on equity into the high teens. According to Olds, DBS's return "should increase to 12% for 2000, and we should improve on that in 2001 and 2002.


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