In­sider named new HSBC boss

The Weekend Australian - - THE WALL STREET JOURNAL -

HSBC has named re­tail head John Flint as its next chief ex­ec­u­tive, sig­nalling con­ti­nu­ity in the Asia-fo­cused bank’s strat­egy.

Mr Flint, the pre­ferred pick of out­go­ing CEO Stu­art Gul­liver, has been with the bank since join­ing in 1989 af­ter col­lege and hold­ing key roles in its trea­sury, as­set-man­age­ment and re­tail busi­nesses.

The nam­ing of a new CEO comes less than two weeks af­ter chair­man Mark Tucker started in his new role. Mr Tucker, HSBC’s first out­side chair­man since the bank’s found­ing in 1865, was tasked with find­ing a new CEO af­ter Mr Gul­liver said in March he would re­tire in 2018. Mr Flint will start in Fe­bru­ary.

Even be­fore for­mally join­ing the bank’s board in Septem­ber and tak­ing over as chair­man this month, Mr Tucker met with in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal can­di­dates. He was hired as chair­man in March from AIA Group, where he was CEO.

Mr Tucker said he was struck by Mr Flint’s “vi­sion and pas­sion” for the bank and his record of build­ing high­per­form­ing teams.

The mix of hav­ing a chair­man from out­side and an in­sider CEO was also com­pelling, he said.

“We felt he was the best and op­ti­mal fit,” he said.

HSBC, founded in Hong Kong, for decades was fo­cused on ex­pand­ing its foot­print across the world. From 2011 un­der Mr. Gul­liver and for­mer chair­man Dou­glas Flint — to whom the new CEO isn’t re­lated — that fo­cus shifted to cope with a new reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment and tougher eco­nomic con­di­tions af­ter the fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

HSBC shut dozens of busi­nesses, ex­ited swathes of the globe and spent bil­lions of dol­lars on im­prov­ing its fi­nan­cial crime fight­ing sys­tems af­ter en­ter­ing a 2012 de­ferred pros­e­cu­tion agree­ment in the US over sanc­tions and anti-money laun­der­ing breaches.

Be­cause of Mr Tucker’s out­sider sta­tus, an­a­lysts had ex­pected the new CEO to be ei­ther Mr Flint or an­other in­ter­nal can­di­date. The bank’s share price was un­changed.

Mr Tucker said he, Mr Flint and the board have been work­ing to set out the bank’s next op­por­tu­ni­ties and pri­or­i­ties, and that some parts of the cur­rent strat­egy could be “en­hanced and ac­cel­er­ated.”

“We don’t an­tic­i­pate any im­me­di­ate changes,” Mr Tucker said.

John Flint

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