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Redefining Performance Management at DBS

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Redefining Performance Management at DBS

How Lofty Ambitions and Innovative Metrics Sharpened Customer Focus

MIT Sloan Management Review,

5 min read
3 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

Singapore-based DBS bank transformed itself into a premier digital financial services firm.

Editorial Rating



  • Eye Opening
  • Background
  • Inspiring


A designation of “Best Bank in the World” typically requires decades of continuous improvement. But Singapore-based DBS built a sterling reputation as an innovative, customer-centric and digital financial powerhouse in only 10 years. In this illuminating case study, journalists David Kiron and Barbara Spindel highlight how DBS skyrocketed into the banking stratosphere through massive and disruptive organizational change. Financial professionals interested in dynamic turnarounds will find valuable insights in this DBS profile.


DBS needed to implement a massive organizational change to regain its competitiveness in financial services.

In 2009, Piyush Gupta assumed the role of chief executive officer at DBS, formerly known as the Development Bank of Singapore Limited. The financial institution had a dismal customer service record and a bad reputation. Gupta launched an extensive strategic change – with a robust technology focus – to pursue a digital strategy that would reinvigorate the DBS brand.

The first of several initiatives to rebuild the bank’s name was the implementation of a “RED” philosophy: to be “respectful, easy to deal with and dependable.” DBS executives incorporated this theme into the bank’s operations through “process improvement...

About the Authors

David Kiron is an executive editor at the  MIT Sloan Management ReviewBarbara Spindel is a writer and editor specializing in culture, history and politics.

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