HSBC names re­tail bank­ing head as re­place­ment for chief ex­ec­u­tive

The Buffalo News - - MONEY & MARKETS - By Chad Bray NEW YORK TIMES

LON­DON – Mark Tucker is the first out­sider to serve as HSBC’s chair­man, but he has cho­sen some­one from within as the bank’s next chief ex­ec­u­tive.

HSBC said Thurs­day that John Flint, who is in charge of the lender’s re­tail bank­ing and wealth man­age­ment busi­ness, would as­sume the role of chief ex­ec­u­tive in Fe­bru­ary, when Stu­art Gul­liver re­tires.

The nam­ing of Flint is the lat­est in a se­ries of moves to re­shape the lead­er­ship of the bank, which is based in Lon­don but gen­er­ates much of its profit in Asia. HSBC also has shaken up its board re­cently, adding four in­de­pen­dent di­rec­tors.

Tucker said in a news re­lease that Flint had “broad and deep bank­ing ex­pe­ri­ence across re­gions, busi­nesses and func­tions.”

“He has a great un­der­stand­ing and re­gard for HSBC’s her­itage, and the pas­sion to build the bank for the next gen­er­a­tion,” Tucker added. “Through the search process, John has de­vel­oped with my­self and the board a clear sense of the op­por­tu­ni­ties and pri­or­i­ties that lie ahead.”

Flint, 49, joined HSBC in 1989 and spent his first 14 years at the com­pany in Asia, work­ing with its global mar­kets busi­ness. He has pre­vi­ously served as the bank’s trea­surer, chief ex­ec­u­tive of its global as­set man­age­ment busi­ness, and chief of staff for Gul­liver.

As chief ex­ec­u­tive, Flint will re­ceive an an­nual salary of 1.2 mil­lion pounds, or about $1.6 mil­lion. He also will re­ceive a fixed pay al­lowance of 1.7 mil­lion pounds a year and an an­nual pen­sion al­lowance of 360,000 pounds, as well as dis­cre­tionary vari­able pay and a long-term in­cen­tive award based on the bank’s per­for­mance.

“I am hum­bled by the re­spon­si­bil­ity and enor­mously ex­cited by the op­por­tu­nity to lead HSBC as group CEO,” Flint said. “The bank is very well po­si­tioned for the fu­ture, but we must con­tinue to in­no­vate and ac­cel­er­ate the pace of change re­quired to meet the ex­pec­ta­tions of our share­hold­ers, cus­tomers, em­ploy­ees and so­ci­ety at large.”

Tucker, the for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Asian life in­surer AIA Group, was named chair­man in March, suc­ceed­ing Dou­glas Flint, who had been with HSBC since 1995 and who had been chair­man since 2010.

One of Tucker’s first tasks was to lead the search for the suc­ces­sor to Gul­liver, who be­came chief ex­ec­u­tive in 2011.

Un­der the lead­er­ship of Dou­glas Flint and Gul­liver, HSBC has un­der­gone ma­jor changes, mak­ing ef­forts to nav­i­gate a dif­fi­cult busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment and the greater scru­tiny and cap­i­tal de­mands from reg­u­la­tors af­ter the fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

In re­cent years, the bank has sig­nif­i­cantly re­shaped its op­er­a­tions by shed­ding tens of thou­sands of jobs, sell­ing un­der­per­form­ing busi­nesses and shrink­ing its global in­vest­ment bank­ing busi­ness.

Last year, HSBC, which was founded in 1865 in Hong Kong as the Hongkong and Shang­hai Bank­ing Corp., de­cided to keep its head­quar­ters in Lon­don af­ter a lengthy re­view. In an­nounc­ing its de­ci­sion in Fe­bru­ary 2016, HSBC said that Asia re­mained “at the heart of the group’s strat­egy.”

HSBC has also un­der­gone the ex­pen­sive process of strength­en­ing its fi­nan­cial­crime com­pli­ance af­ter reach­ing a $1.9 bil­lion set­tle­ment with the U.S. govern­ment in 2012.

“Af­ter the most ex­ten­sive re­struc­tur­ing of the bank in its his­tory and a re­lent­less fo­cus on meet­ing the evolv­ing ex­pec­ta­tions of so­ci­ety, I am con­fi­dent HSBC is in bet­ter shape than it was seven years ago,” Gul­liver said in the state­ment Thurs­day.

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