BACKSTORY: Standard Chartered CEO Kweku Bedu-Addo
We question CEO of Standard Chartered bank Kweku Bedu-Addo on his top tip for doing a deal, biggest regret and what he’d tell his younger self
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Your product, service or solution should be about solving your client’s problem, not just about you making money. Let your actions generate favourable word of mouth and this will create goodwil.
What was your first job?
Assistant economic planning officer at Ghana’s ministry of finance.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
I earned perhaps the equivalent of $300-$500 a month. I was in my early 20s and fortunate to be living with my parents, with no bills or responsibilities. Most likely I spent some of it hanging out with friends. But I saved enough doing overtime to buy my first car, a pre-owned Opel Kadett.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I’m an amateur film producer and writer
What was the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
Your salary doesn’t make you wealthy. It is your investment that generates wealth for you. Always spend less than you earn and invest the difference.
What have you most enjoyed or disliked about lockdown?
I have enjoyed the discovery that one can be as productive working from home as from the office. I have not liked the closure of international borders. Though I can understand the restrictions on international travel, it has come at a high personal price, with a bereavement last month when my dad passed away unexpectedly. Personal closure under current circumstances is quite difficult.
What is something you would go back and tell your younger self?
Trust your instincts and follow them. Don’t follow the crowd. Take risks.
What is your biggest regret?
Not taking French seriously in school. In grade 8, my friends and I would escape French class to chat or play cards. I have had strategic oversight for three French-speaking countries in my career, so I deeply regret my self-inflicted handicap.
Was there ever a point at which you wanted to trade it all in for a different career? And if so, what would that career be?
I have done that once: after almost a decade in public service, I gave up something I really enjoyed and was flourishing in to start afresh from the bottom rungs of the private sector. I made the trade-off because I wanted to learn how society creates wealth and value. The switch was every bit worth it because I have since learnt so much that I would never have known.
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