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HSBC chief executive unexpectedly steps down

HSBC’s group chief executive Noel Quinn is unexpectedly retiring after nearly five years in the role.

Europe’s largest bank says it is in the process of finding a successor for 62-year-old Mr Quinn, who will stay in the role until a new chief executive is named. HSBC is considering candidates from both inside and outside the firm.

It comes as the UK-based lender reported a 1.8% drop in profit for the first three months of 2024, compared to the same time last year.

The company said that its pre-tax profit for the period came in at $12.7bn (£10bn), which was a little better than expected by market analysts.

“After an intense five years, it is now the right time for me to get a better balance between my personal and business life,” Mr Quinn said.

Mr Quinn, who has worked at HSBC for 37 years, was first appointed as its chief executive on an interim basis in 2019, after his predecessor John Flint was ousted from the role.

In March 2020, he took the reins of HSBC on a permanent basis.

“[Mr Quinn] has driven both our transformation strategy and created a simpler, more focused business that delivers higher returns,” HSBC’s chairman Mark Tucker said.

Along with its quarterly results, the bank announced an interim payout to investors of $0.10 per share and said it would buy back up to $3bn of its shares.

HSBC recently completed the sale of its operations in Canada and announced plans to do the same with its business in Argentina.

The sales are part of efforts by the London-based bank to focus more on faster-growing markets in Asia.

Shanti Kelemen, chief investment office at M&G Wealth, told the BBC’s Today programme that it “has probably been a very intense five years” and that Mr Quinn “has had a very long career”.

She said that Mr Quinn had changed the shape of the bank during his time at the top, by such actions as selling HSBC’s Argentina business, leaving Canada, and stepping up Asia operations.

“What he’s done will probably reverberate and determine the path of their success for certainly several years to come,” she added.

bbc

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