HSBC names interim boss Noel Quinn permanent CEO

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
HSBC CEO Noel Quinn. (Hou Yu/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images)

HSBC (HSBA.L) confirmed late on Tuesday that interim chief executive Noel Quinn is being given job on a full-time basis.

Chairman Mark Tucker said Quinn, who has led the bank since August 2019, was an “outstanding candidate to take on a role permanently”.

“He is a strong and proven leader with extensive global banking expertise, deep client relationships and the energy and skill to drive the business forward at pace,” Tucker said.

Quinn’s main contribution since taking over from John Flint last year has been to announce sweeping cuts. He said last months 35,000 job would go as part of a root-and-branch restructure at the bank.

Analysts and investors were surprised Quinn was given such wide-ranging authority to overhaul the entire bank while still in an interim role. Tucker said on an earnings call last month that he would take his time finding the right candidate for the role.

The Financial Times reported last month that Jean Pierre Mustier, the chief executive of Italian bank UniCredit, had been identified as the preferred candidate by the board. Mustier subsequently ruled himself out of contention.

Tucker said in Tuesday’s statement: “In the last few months Noel has worked closely with the Board to agree the key actions required to build and enhance performance on a sustainable basis.

“He has shown a great understanding of HSBC, the challenges we face and the significant opportunities for growth that lie ahead.”

Quinn said: “There is much that remains to be done and I am confident that we will rise to the challenge and deliver for our shareholders, customers, employees and society at large.”

He added that he was “honoured” to take the job on full-time basis and said: “HSBC is an outstanding global company with talented and dedicated people.”

Efforts to turnaround HSBC come after a disappointing year. Revenue at HSBC last year rose by 4% in 2019 to $56bn, which was ahead of analysts expectations, but profit missed forecasts.

Pre-tax profit fell by a third to $13.3bn, against a City forecast of $20bn. Profit attributable to shareholders crashed by 53% to $6bn. Analysts had been expecting double that.