Four European Bank CEOs Pull Out of Saudi Conference -- 3rd Update

Fecha : 16/10/2018 @ 11:59
Fuente : Noticias Dow Jones
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Four European Bank CEOs Pull Out of Saudi Conference -- 3rd Update

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By Margot Patrick and Jenny Strasburg 

More banking executives pulled out of Saudi Arabia's Financial Investment Initiative conference Tuesday, with the heads of HSBC Holdings PLC, Credit Suisse Group AG and Standard Chartered PLC canceling plans to attend next week's event.

This follows decisions this week by some of Wall Street's most prominent executives not to attend, amid a backlash against the kingdom over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Turkish officials say Mr. Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents in Istanbul earlier this month. Saudi Arabia has denied the accusation.

The three bank chiefs pulled out Tuesday morning after discussing it among themselves, people familiar with the matter said. A fourth bank official, BNP Paribas SA Chairman Jean Lemierre, later on Tuesday opted not to attend, as did London Stock Exchange Group PLC CEO David Schwimmer.

Global banks have been courting the Saudi government and its 33-year old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, the public face of the kingdom's effort to establish itself as a financial and investing hub. Last year's inaugural conference, billed as a "Davos in the Desert," was well attended by Western executives.

Skipping this year's conference could mean banks miss out on potentially lucrative transactions involving the Saudi government over the coming years. However, many of the banks with chief executives canceling their appearances are still sending delegations.

HSBC Chief Executive John Flint had been scheduled to speak and the bank was a strategic partner for this year's conference. The British bank part-owns a lender and has an investment-banking joint venture in the country.

Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam was on the conference's advisory board, while Standard Chartered CEO Bill Winters was slated as a speaker.

Conference organizers declined to comment Monday on the cancellations and indicated the event would go forward as planned. They didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

The latest withdrawals increase pressure on other executives to clarify their plans.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Deutsche Bank AG executives were still discussing whether CEO Christian Sewing would attend the Saudi conference, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Sewing isn't scheduled as a speaker, but had tentative plans to represent the German bank in meetings with clients at the conference, the people said.

French bank Société Générale SA was "monitoring closely the situation" Tuesday for CEO Frédéric Oudéa's planned attendance, a spokesman said.

JP Morgan Chase & Co. CEO James Dimon, BlackRock Inc. CEO Laurence Fink and Blackstone Group chief Stephen Schwarzman are among executives who have already decided they won't attend.

JP Morgan, HSBC and Citigroup Inc. hold the top rankings for Saudi Arabia investment banking revenue so far in 2018, according to Dealogic data. The banks have helped the kingdom and state entities raise loans and bonds, among other business.

Write to Margot Patrick at and Jenny Strasburg at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 16, 2018 12:44 ET (16:44 GMT)

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