HSBC appoints new chairman in management overhaul

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HONG KONG: Banking giant HSBC announced the appointment of a new chairman Monday as part of a management overhaul which will also see it choose a new CEO, after a massive drop in profits in 2016.

British businessman Mark Tucker will take over from current chairman Douglas Flint in October. Tucker is currently group chief executive and president of insurance group AIA.

He will lead the hunt for a new CEO for HSBC to replace Stuart Gulliver who is set to retire in 2018, the bank said in a statement to the Hong Kong exchange.

The changes come as HSBC profits were dealt a hammer blow last year, with the bank attributing the decline to protectionist fears under Donald Trump and uncertainties caused by Brexit when it announced its 2016 results last month.

That sent new shivers through markets already spooked by concerns over political stability in Europe, Brexit and US trade policies.

Shares in HSBC were up 2.3 percent in early afternoon trading.

HSBC praised Tucker’s “long track record of successful leadership of complex financial services businesses in both Asia and the UK” in its statement.

Before he took the helm at AIA, Tucker was head of insurer Prudential. Gulliver and Flint have led HSBC since 2010 in what has been a difficult period for the bank.

The duo were grilled by UK lawmakers in 2015 and apologised for “unacceptable” failings at HSBC’s Swiss division following allegations the unit helped rich clients hide billions from the taxman.

HSBC was one of six major US and European banks that were fined a total of $4.2 billion by global regulators in a November 2014 crackdown for attempted manipulation of the foreign exchange market.

It was also fined $1.92 billion by US prosecutors in 2012 to settle allegations that it failed to enforce anti-money laundering rules exposing it to exploitation by drug cartels and terrorist organisations.

Since 2011, Gulliver and Flint have announced more than 87,000 job cuts and exited more than 80 businesses.
HSBC thanked Flint for his “dedicated service” in Monday’s statement.

“Douglas has skilfully led HSBC through the turbulent times of the financial crisis and its aftermath,” it said.
“As an industry leader, he has played a key role in contributing to the development of the post-crisis regulatory framework.”

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