HSBC Are Searching For Another Chief Executive

Noel Quinn, Chief Executive of HSBC, has announced his unexpected resignation, citing the conclusion of a demanding five-year tenure. As he prepares to explore varied professional interests, the bank now faces the task of finding his successor.

Mark Tucker, Chairman of HSBC, is currently overseeing the search for a new chief executive, a choice that will include both internal and external candidates. A decision is anticipated in the latter half of the year, with Quinn remaining in his role throughout the selection process.

This announcement follows the resignation of Ewen Stevenson, HSBC's former finance chief, who stepped down in October 2022, reportedly under the impression that the chief executive position would not be vacated soon.

Quinn's departure comes at a strategic moment for HSBC, as he believes the bank has reached a critical juncture. Under his leadership, HSBC has undergone significant restructuring, focusing more intensely on Asian markets and scaling back operations in several countries including Argentina, Canada, France, Greece, and Oman. The bank also exited mass-market retail banking in the U.S.

Despite challenges, including pressure from Ping An, the bank's largest shareholder, to divide its operations, Quinn has managed to navigate through the pandemic and maintain investor confidence by enhancing capital returns. This includes a recent $3 billion share buyback and a special dividend of 21 cents per share following the sale of HSBC's Canadian operations, which will return an additional $4 billion to shareholders. HSBC reported a pre-tax profit of $12.7 billion for the quarter, a slight dip from the previous year but still surpassing analyst expectations.

Quinn commented on his tenure, expressing pride in having honed a more streamlined business model ready for future expansion. "It's an ideal time to bring in new leadership to move the bank forward over the next five years," he stated.

Quinn's long association with HSBC began in 1987 at Midland Bank, later acquired by HSBC. Post-resignation, he plans to take a brief respite before embarking on a series of new ventures and dedicating more time to his family.

Reflecting on his career and his relationship with Tucker, Quinn humorously noted that their only real contention was their differing football loyalties—Tucker being a staunch Chelsea fan and Quinn supporting Aston Villa.


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