HSBC appoints insider Noel Quinn as chief executive

LONDON (Reuters) – HSBC (HSBA.L) said on Tuesday it appointed Noel Quinn as chief executive officer, handing the insider and interim boss the reins of Europe’s biggest bank and ending months of speculation an external candidate could get the role.

FILE PHOTO: HSBC logo is seen on a branch bank in the financial district in New York, U.S., August 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Quinn, who joined HSBC in 1987, took interim charge of HSBC last August after the shock ousting of John Flint and has been auditioning for the permanent job since, despite media reports that chairman Mark Tucker preferred an external candidate.

Unicredit boss Jean Pierre Mustier and incoming UBS Group (UBSG.S) Ralph Hamers were among those reported to have caught Tucker’s eye.

“Noel has proven to be the outstanding candidate to take on a role permanently that he has performed impressively on an interim basis since August 2019,” Tucker said.

Quinn takes the helm as the bank faces a tough outlook, with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic adding to its longstanding woes of underperformance in the United States and a struggling investment bank.

Quinn’s appointment ends speculation over who will run HSBC as it heads into what could prove the biggest economic shock in recent times as the coronavirus epidemic brings global travel and consumer spending in many countries to a grinding stop.

Tucker defied market expectations that the bank would name Quinn or an outsider to the role when it presented its full year results and new strategy in February, leaving the interim CEO in limbo and in charge of a plan he might not be around to execute.

Ian Gordon, analyst at Investec, said he welcomed the appointment which would provide the bank “much needed strategic clarity”.

“I would have welcomed it with greater enthusiasm had it been announced alongside the strategic plan a month ago,” he told Reuters.

Quinn will earn a base salary of 1.27 million pounds ($1.54 million) per annum, the bank said.

Additional reporting by Samantha Machado in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi, Leslie Adler and Alexandra Hudson


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