Working with extraordinary talent: Chris’ story

Chris’s enjoyment of his role is underpinned by the great team that works with him.

Chris O’Donnell, Regional Head, Compliance, Europe & Americas and CCIB Regions


I guarantee if you had asked any of my friends or teachers from primary school that I’d end up with a career in compliance, they would have laughed.  As a teenager, I didn’t exactly stick to the rules. I liked to consider myself an “alternative thinker” – I’d come up with plenty of different approaches, particularly to figures of authority!

But once I started business school, I fixed my sights on a career in compliance.  I realised that working in this field gives you a full picture of the business – from infrastructure to operations to client experience. I enjoy being able to base my decisions on an overall view. 

It’s a long-standing belief that those in compliance are just here to say no, but I couldn’t disagree more.  Certainly, it’s not how we approach compliance here at Standard Chartered.  We work in service of the business to support, facilitate and partner which I consider a real privilege.

"It’s extraordinary to be surrounded by colleagues from every corner of the world."

What makes my job particularly enjoyable are the great people. It can be hard recruiting talent here in New York where Standard Chartered is not a household name, but the calibre of our people is a big draw.  There are strong personalities and an exceptionally diverse team.  I remember going to an introductory event for senior managers and meeting people who could speak five, six and even seven languages.  It’s extraordinary to be surrounded by colleagues from every corner of the world.

In my role as Regional Head, I get the opportunity to travel to our offices in London, Singapore and other offices globally to spend time with the colleagues in Compliance and throughout the Bank. The rest of the time, when we’re not in the same physical location, it’s ok because the team are mature and collaborative which makes communication easier.  It also allows me to spend quality time at home with my family or get out on my bike. Overall, it makes for a good, balanced life.

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