Who can be HSBC’s subsequent CEO? An inside candidate appears seemingly for Europe’s largest financial institution

May 16, 2024 | blog

HSBC Holdings Plc is leaning in direction of appointing its subsequent chief government officer from a shortlist of inside candidates because it begins its hunt for a successor to outgoing boss Noel Quinn.

Chief Financial Officer Georges Elhedery and Nuno Matos, head of wealth and private banking, are considered because the main replacements for Quinn, who introduced his retirement final month, in keeping with folks accustomed to the matter. The financial institution has engaged an exterior recruitment agency to benchmark them in opposition to exterior candidates for the job, among the folks stated, asking to not be recognized discussing an inside course of.

The search is simply getting underway and the board might nonetheless go in one other route, the folks stated. A spokesperson for HSBC declined to remark.

The inside roster is seen as sturdy and assist keep away from a protracted search to exchange Quinn given many exterior candidates would seemingly have to finish a interval of gardening depart earlier than they’re capable of be a part of. Chairman Mark Tucker has stated he expects to wrap up the method within the second half of the yr.

Quinn introduced final month that he’s stepping down, a shock transfer that comes as Europe’s largest lender tries to navigate the deteriorating relationship between China and the US. During his tenure, Quinn led a collection of strategic critiques that culminated in a plan to spice up the financial institution’s funding in its Asian enterprise, whereas slicing again in markets such because the US and France. 

The firm is dedicated to that technique going ahead, at the same time as tensions proceed to flare between Beijing and Washington. An exterior candidate could be extra prone to need to debut a brand new technique, which has additionally left the board extra inclined to again the interior bench of expertise, the folks accustomed to the matter stated. 

Cultivating Talent

Elhedery, 50, took over the CFO function at first of 2023. The Lebanese native rose via the ranks of HSBC’s markets division and spent a number of weeks shadowing Quinn earlier than taking up his newest function. 

In 2022, Elhedery launched into a six-month lengthy sabbatical from the financial institution. He used that point to study Mandarin and — if chosen to exchange Quinn — he could be the primary CEO of the financial institution in trendy occasions to talk Chinese.

Some of HSBC’s largest traders have lengthy wished the financial institution’s most senior leaders to have stronger ties to Asia, the place HSBC makes nearly all of its income, in keeping with the folks accustomed to the matter. The board is conscious of traders’ needs on that entrance, the folks stated.  

Matos, 56, has additionally staked a robust declare for the job having acquired a collection of promotions that propelled the previous Banco Santander SA government from CEO of HSBC’s Mexican enterprise to move of its largest division. The Portuguese native additionally relocated from London to Hong Kong as a part of the financial institution’s deal with Asia.

Headhunters are placing collectively a listing of a number of outdoors candidates, in keeping with the folks accustomed to the matter. That contains Charlie Nunn, a former HSBC government who grew to become CEO of Lloyds Banking Group Plc in 2021.  

Nunn was seen as a possible successor to Quinn earlier than he left HSBC after his decade-long stint with the financial institution. Before becoming a member of HSBC, he was a senior companion at McKinsey & Co. and earlier labored at Accenture Plc.

Earlier this month, Nunn responded to a query about whether or not he was taken with being the following boss of HSBC by telling an viewers at Bloomberg’s Sell Side Forum in London that he was targeted on his present function. 

“I’ve got a new team in place,” Nunn stated. “I’m very excited about the next few years at Lloyds.”

What Bloomberg Intelligence Says

The expertise of JPMorgan alumnus Bill Winters at Standard Chartered exhibits a heavy-hitting exterior candidate is probably not the most suitable choice. HSBC should exhibit its capacity to speed up development in Asia, now franchise streamlining has been largely accomplished, and we more and more suspect an inside candidate might be most popular. George Elhedery (CFO), Nuno Matos (CEO of Wealth and Personal Banking) and Gregory Guyett (CEO of Global Banking and Markets, ex-JPMorgan) are seemingly amongst Quinn’s potential successors.

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