HSBC appointed Georges Elhedery as its new CFO on Tuesday — a move that puts him in line to succeed CEO Noel Quinn.
At the same time, Quinn downplayed the idea that he would be leaving any time soon.
“I’m here for many years to come,” he told the Financial Times.
“My ambition is to make sure there are no less than three and ideally four to five potential succession options that the board could consider within HSBC,” Quinn said, according to Bloomberg.
The reshuffle puts Ewen Stevenson on the outs with the bank. Stevenson will step down from his post at the end of December, days shy of his fourth anniversary with Britain’s largest lender. Under Tuesday’s agreement, Elhedery will become CFO in January, and Stevenson will leave the bank in April.
Quinn insisted, in comments to Reuters, the bank is not changing its strategy as a result of the shuffle.
“I want to pay tribute to Ewen’s achievements and professionalism during his time with us and to thank him for his thoughtful and significant contribution to HSBC through a period of considerable change,” Quinn said in a statement.
The change in leadership comes more than two years after HSBC announced plans to cut 35,000 jobs and $100 billion in assets by 2023.
Stevenson, for his part, said it has been “an absolute privilege to be part of the senior team leading a fundamental turnaround of the operating performance of HSBC over recent years.”
“I have strong confidence in the future of HSBC, and wish Noel, Georges and the rest of the senior leadership team well as they continue to deliver the strategy of the bank,” he said.
Stevenson told Reuters he is "looking forward to some time off and thinking about future options."
Elhedery, formerly HSBC’s co-CEO of global banking and markets, returned from a six-month sabbatical in September but moved directly under Quinn rather than to his old job.
The bank, meanwhile, named Greg Guyett as its sole chief executive of global banking and markets Tuesday.
“Georges is an exceptional leader with strong experience,” Quinn said. “He also has the necessary technical and strategic capabilities to take on the role of group CFO and to continue the delivery of the board’s strategy.”
Elhedery joined HSBC in 2005 as a senior global markets executive. After serving as CEO of the bank’s operations in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, he took up the global banking and markets co-CEO role in March 2020.
Tuesday’s announcement comes as HSBC weathers calls from investor Ping An to break up — a measure meant to force the bank to focus on its Asia footprint, where it derives most of its income.
As it stands, HSBC announced Tuesday it had taken a $2.4 billion charge related to the planned sale of its French retail-banking operations.
The bank also set aside $1.1 billion of provisions for expected credit losses, according to third-quarter earnings, which HSBC reported Tuesday. The bank saw a 46% drop in third-quarter profit, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Europe isn’t the only area where HSBC is considering a smaller presence. The bank is reportedly exploring a sale of its Canadian footprint, a prospect that could net the bank between $7 billion and $10 billion.
Quinn quashed rumors Tuesday that HSBC’s Mexico footprint may also be on the chopping block.
“Mexico will not be up for sale soon,” he said, according to the Financial Times. “We’re seeing that business activity grow. It’s a business that’s producing good returns, and one we believe can produce even higher returns and profit growth.”
As part of Tuesday’s agreement, Elhedery will make a base salary of £780,000 per year, a fixed-pay allowance of £1,085,000 and a pension allowance of £78,000.
Stevenson will receive a payment of up to £417,885 from the bank in lieu of his base salary and pension allowance through Oct. 25 of next year, HSBC said in a filing.