Sands described Meddings as an "outstanding" finance director to reporters and the finance director insisted the departure was "totally my decision" and that he decided to leave over the Christmas break.
Sands said "there's no pay-off" for Meddings and he is "being paid according to his contract."
He also reiterated that he is "not going anywhere" as chief executive.
The emerging markets-focused bank has embarked on a wide-ranging shakeup including the departure of Meddings and Steve Bertamini, head of its consumer banking arm, after a troubled 2013. It is targeting medium-sized businesses in Asia, and the families which often own them, in particular through the integration.
(Read more: Standard Chartered profits sag)
Bertamini will also leave the company as it integrates consumer and wholesale banking, after a campaign by shareholders to reduce its board members, by the end of June. Both men will be paid full salaries until January 2014.
Mike Rees, head of wholesale banking, will run the bank's wholesale and consumer banks, which will be integrated in April this year.
Sands said Bertamini's departure was "not a performance issue." In December, the bank warned that its consumer banking arm, run by Bertamini, would have its first fall in annual operating profit in more than a decade for 2013, after problems at its South Korea wing.
"We are a performance-driven organization…but that isn't what this reorganization is about," he told reporters.
There will be job cuts as a result of the reorganization, most in the "support and control" functions of the business, Sands confirmed.
Standard Chartered has become one of the U.K.'s most successful banks, due in part to being focused on emerging markets as developed markets suffered in the post-credit crisis years. Last year, it was hit by the downturn in emerging markets growth, and by shareholder protests against its board structure and pay. The latest changes mean that there will be one fewer executive member on the board, which should please its biggest shareholder Temasek, the Singapore state-owned fund.
In 2012 it was slapped with a total of $667 million in fines for violating U.S. sanctions laws against dealing with states like Iran.
Shares of the bank provisionally closed lower by 2.2 percent on Thursday.
(Read more: Standard Chartered fine 'not enough')
- By CNBC's Catherine Boyle. Twitter: