HSBC CEO Noel Quinn Unexpectedly Steps Down After 5 Years in Role

By Madz Dizon

Apr 30, 2024 05:27 AM EDT

HSBC CEO Noel Quinn Unexpectedly Steps Down After 5 Years in Role
Noel Quinn, Group Chief Executive of HSBC, speaks at the Global Financial Leaders Investment Summit in Hong Kong on November 2, 2022.
(Photo : PETER PARKS/AFP via Getty Images)

HSBC's group chief executive Noel Quinn has announced his retirement, bringing an end to his nearly five-year tenure in the role.

The largest bank in Europe has announced that it is currently searching for a replacement for Quinn, who will continue in his position until a new CEO is appointed.  HSBC is open to considering candidates from a variety of backgrounds.

HSBC CEO Steps Down

In the first three months of operation of 2024, the London-based lender recorded a pre-tax profit of $12.7 billion, which was 1.8% lower than the previous period. 

Surprisingly, this figure exceeded the expectations of analysts. The company's revenues saw a 3% increase, reaching $20.8 billion. HSBC has announced plans to repurchase up to $3 billion worth of its shares.

The net interest income decreased by $300 million to $8.7 billion due to a shift in customer accounts. There was a significant increase in non-interest income, with a rise in trading income of $1.3 billion, primarily in the global banking and markets sector.

Quinn assumed the role of chief executive, initially on an interim basis, following the departure of John Flint in 2019 after a relatively short tenure of 18 months. 

After being made permanent in March 2020, he faced the challenge of guiding the bank through the pandemic. 

Quinn expressed that after a demanding five years, they have decided that now is the appropriate moment to achieve a healthier equilibrium between their personal and professional life.

Quinn, with a tenure of 37 years at HSBC, assumed the position of chief executive in 2019 on an interim basis following the removal of his predecessor, John Flint.

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Noel Quinn's 'Intense' Tenure

In addition to its quarterly results, the bank has announced an interim payout to investors of $0.10 per share and has also revealed plans to buy back up to $3 billion of its shares.

HSBC has recently finalized the sale of its operations in Canada and has also revealed its intentions to do the same with its business in Argentina. The sales are part of the London-based bank's strategy to prioritize faster-growing markets in Asia.

According to Shanti Kelemen, the chief investment office at M&G Wealth, the past five years have been quite intense and Quinn has had a lengthy career, according to BBC.

Kelemen said Quinn made significant changes to the bank during his tenure, including selling HSBC's Argentina business, exiting the Canadian market, and expanding operations in Asia.

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