HSBC makes surprise succession move

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Picture used for illustrative purposes.

HSBC named Georges Elhedery as its new chief financial officer on Tuesday in a surprise move that puts the former head of its investment bank in pole position to eventually succeed Noel Quinn as CEO.

The change came as HSBC’s shares were knocked by a 42 per cent slide in third quarter profit, the result of loan losses and charges from the sale of its French business as it seeks to placate investors including China’s Ping An Insurance Group.

HSBC stock, which fell as much as 8 per cent, was on track for its worst single day performance since April 2020 as investors digested the sudden CFO shift and muted performance forecasts.

Lebanese-born Elhedery, who is a French passport holder, took a six-month sabbatical from HSBC in January, citing a desire to travel with his family and explore personal interests.

Quinn said that while departing CFO Ewen Stevenson had done a good restructuring job over three years, the London-headquartered bank had succession in mind, effectively putting 48-year-old Elhedery at the front of the queue to be CEO.

“There is no change in strategy as a consequence of these leadership changes,” Quinn, 60, said. “This is about how the group executive committee is positioned with potential succession options for the future,” he told Reuters.

Former investment banker Stevenson, 56, who will leave HSBC next year, told Reuters he was “looking forward to some time off and thinking about future options”.



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