HSBC Chief Makes Sudden Retirement Announcement

HSBC announced on Tuesday that CEO Noel Quinn would be retiring before the end of the year and the Asia-focused bank had already begun the process of finding his successor.

The 62-year-old Quinn, who was named chief executive in March 2020, first joined HSBC in 1987. The bank’s profits and share price increased under Quinn’s leadership as he slashed or closed down underperforming sections, including HSBC’s US and French retail banking services, its entire subsidiary in Canada, and units in smaller markets like Argentina.

HSBC makes most of its profits in the Asian market. Simon Yuen the founder of the HSBC shareholder Surich Asset Management in Hong Kong, said it had been a good move for HSBC to shrink its Western markets while boosting its business in Asia.

Yuen said he hoped that Quinn’s successor would expand on the same model and increase HSBC’s Asian market further.

Quinn told reporters that he would remain as chief executive until HSBC appoints his successor.

The most likely candidate to take Quinn’s place is CFO Georges Elhedery, who was appointed in early January 2023.

Quinn explained that he had been holding “intensive leadership roles” at HSBC since October 2008 when he “took on a commercial bank role” and was now “ready for a change.”

He said his retirement was coming at “a natural inflection point” as the bank wrapped up “the current transformation phase.” He said now was the time for new leadership that could “move the bank forward over the next five years.”

HSBC Chairman of the Board Mark Tucker said the bank hoped to have Quinn’s successor in place by the second half of 2024.

Tucker said Quinn notified the board of his decision to step down in early April and the board supported his decision.

Following his appointment as CEO in March 2020, Quinn played a key role in navigating HSBC through the challenges of the pandemic and the increasing tensions involving HSBC’s central market, China.