HSBC executive Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles steps down after racism row
Row: Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles
A leading HSBC executive and Britain’s former ambassador to Saudi Arabia will step down after calling the UK ‘weak’ in dealings with China and telling students that ‘the Arabic mind is empty’.
Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, the bank’s head of public affairs, will leave his role next month, according to Bloomberg.
He was forced to apologise last month for reportedly calling Britain ‘weak’ for following US demands to distance itself from China.
The 68-year-old was also at the centre of a racism row last month when it was revealed that he told an audience at Oxford University in July that he wished he had learned Chinese instead of Arabic when he was a diplomat because China is ‘more interesting’.
He declared that ‘the Arabic mind is empty compared to the Chinese’, according to sources who relayed his comments to The Mail on Sunday.
Cowper-Coles said he was speaking at a private event and his ‘personal comments don’t reflect the views of HSBC’. He said: I apologise for any offence caused.’