HSBC has confirmed that interim CEO, Noel Quinn will be the group CEO with immediate effect, bringing to an end a 6-month external search. The banking giant had last year ousted chief executive John Flint over an alleged argument about how fast the bank should have been hitting its targets.
Noel Quinn, who joined HSBC in 1987, took interim charge of HSBC last year in August and has been auditioning for the permanent job since, although few media reports have claimed that chairman Mark Tucker preferred an external candidate.
Tucker surprises many
Until now, Tucker has largely defied market expectations that the bank would name Quinn or an outsider to the role when it presented its full-year results and new strategy in February, even leaving the interim CEO in limbo and in charge of a plan he might not be around to execute.
However announcing Quinn’s permanent role, Tucker said,
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“Noel has proven to be the outstanding candidate to take on a role permanently that he has performed impressively on an interim basis since August 2019”
Coronavirus challenge awaits Noel Quinn
Quinn takes the top post as the bank faces a tough outlook, with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic adding to its longstanding woes of underperformance in the United States and a struggling investment bank.
Quinn’s appointment also ends unnecessary speculations over who will run HSBC as it heads into what could prove the biggest economic shock in recent times as the coronavirus epidemic brings global travel and consumer spending in many countries to a grinding stop.
In recent times, HSBC has come under criticism from some shareholders and analysts for making the announcement without clarity on who would lead the bank through the process. Last week it was announced that Quinn would receive a 2.5 percent pay rise, bringing his total salary to £1.3m.