Lloyds Bank boss to step down after a decade at the helm

Antonio Horta-Osorio. (Reuters)
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Updated 07 July 2020

Lloyds Bank boss to step down after a decade at the helm

LONDON: Lloyds Bank CEO Antonio Horta-Osorio said on Monday he would step down next year after a decade at the helm, leaving Britain’s biggest domestic bank to find a successor to steer it through the coronavirus fallout. While his departure had been expected, it comes at a critical time as banks brace for a wave of bad debts as customers struggle in an economy heading into a deep recession.

Horta-Osorio’s successor will need to push Lloyds further into wealth management and online services while finding a way to increase profits in an era of almost zero interest rates, analysts said.

His departure could also lead to some musical chairs at top banks with analysts speculating about both where Horta-Osorio might go next and who will replace him at Lloyds. A Lloyds spokesman said a search for a successor that would include both internal and external candidates would begin imminently, adding that Horta-Osorio, 56, had given the company no indication of what he planned to do next.

Goodbody analyst John Cronin said Horta-Osorio could take the top job at Spain’s Santander or Unicredit, especially if the Italian bank’s boss Jean-Pierre Mustier were to switch to Lloyds.

Horta-Osorio said he would leave by June next year and was going with mixed emotions. He told staff in a memo seen by Reuters that leading Lloyds had been the job of a lifetime.


Huawei: Smartphone chips running out under US sanctions

Updated 08 August 2020

Huawei: Smartphone chips running out under US sanctions

  • Huawei is at the center of US-Chinese tension over technology and security
  • Washington cut off Huawei’s access to US components and technology last year

BEIJING: Chinese tech giant Huawei is running out of processor chips to make smartphones due to US sanctions and will be forced to stop production of its own most advanced chips, a company executive says, in a sign of growing damage to Huawei’s business from American pressure.
Huawei Technologies, one of the biggest producers of smartphones and network equipment, is at the center of US-Chinese tension over technology and security. The feud has spread to include the popular Chinese-owned video app TikTok and China-based messaging service WeChat.
Washington cut off Huawei’s access to US components and technology including Google’s music and other smartphone services last year. Those penalties were tightened in May when the White House barred vendors worldwide from using US technology to produce components for Huawei.
Production of Kirin chips designed by Huawei’s own engineers will stop Sept. 15 because they are made by contractors that need US manufacturing technology, said Richard Yu, president of the company’s consumer unit. He said Huawei lacks the ability to make its own chips.
“This is a very big loss for us,” Yu said Friday at an industry conference, China Info 100, according to a video recording of his comments posted on multiple websites.
“Unfortunately, in the second round of US sanctions, our chip producers only accepted orders until May 15. Production will close on Sept. 15,” Yu said. “This year may be the last generation of Huawei Kirin high-end chips.”
More broadly, Huawei’s smartphone production has “no chips and no supply,” Yu said.
Yu said this year’s smartphone sales probably will be lower than 2019’s level of 240 million handsets but gave no details. The company didn’t immediately respond to questions Saturday.
Huawei, founded in 1987 by a former military engineer, denies accusations it might facilitate Chinese spying. Chinese officials accuse Washington of using national security as an excuse to stop a competitor to US tech industries.
Huawei is a leader among emerging Chinese competitors in telecoms, electric cars, renewable energy and other fields in which the ruling Communist Party hopes China can become a global leader.
Huawei has 180,000 employees and one of the world’s biggest research and development budgets at more than $15 billion a year. But, like most global tech brands, it relies on contractors to manufacture its products.
Earlier, Huawei announced its global sales rose 13.1 percent over a year ago to $65 billion in the first half of 2020. Yu said that was due to strong sales of high-end products but gave no details.
Huawei became the world’s top-selling smartphone brand in the three months ending in June, passing rival Samsung for the first time due to strong demand in China, according to Canalys. Sales abroad fell 27 percent from a year earlier.
Washington also is lobbying European and other allies to exclude Huawei from planned next-generation networks as a security risk.
In other US-Chinese clashes, TikTok’s owner, ByteDance, is under White House pressure to sell the video app. That is due to fears its access to personal information about millions of American users might be a security risk.
On Thursday, President Donald Trump announced a ban on unspecified transactions with TikTok and the Chinese owner of WeChat, a popular messaging service.