HSBC boss John Flint makes shock exit after just 18 months as board demands change to help Europe’s largest bank navigate global chaos
- HSBC chief executive John Flint has stepped down after 18 months in the role
- The bank said that change was needed ‘to meet the challenges’ it faces
- The global lender fears possible impact of ongoing US-China trade war
- Shares in the bank are trading down 1.6 per cent to 635p today
HSBC has ousted its boss of just 18 months as the banking giant seeks changes at the top to help it swerve an ‘increasingly complex and challenging’ global environment.
John Flint has stepped down from his day-to-day duties with immediate effect, the bank said today, ‘by mutual agreement with the board’.
Shares in the bank are down 1.6 per cent to 635p following the news.
It comes as HSBC risks being caught in the middle of an all-out trade war between the US and China – two of its main markets.
John Flint (above) has stepped down from his day-to-day duties as HSBC CEO as of today
Last week, global indices flashed red as US President Donald Trump imposed unexpected tariffs on China and stoked investors’ fears of another breakdown in trade talks.
Flint spent three decades at the bank and succeeded former boss Stuart Gulliver in February last year. Noel Quinn will take over as interim chief executive until a successor is appointed.
HSBC chairman Mark Tucker said: ‘On behalf of the board, I would like to thank John for his personal commitment, dedication and the significant contribution that he has made over his long career at the bank.’
Tucker explained that although HSBC ‘is in a strong position to deliver on its strategy’, a change of chief executive is necessary.
‘In the increasingly complex and challenging global environment in which the bank operates, the board believes a change is needed to meet the challenges that we face and to capture the very significant opportunities before us,’ he said.
The surprise announcement came as the bank revealed results for the first half of the year, showing a 16 per cent rise in profits to £10.2billion.
‘Today’s positive interim results particularly reflect John’s achievements as group chief executive,’ Tucker added.
The surprise announcement came as the bank revealed results for the first half of the year
HSBC chief financial officer Ewen Stevenson laid bare the troubles in the bank’s US division.
He told investors: ‘We’re not on track with the turnaround of our US business […] The current returns on the US business is not acceptable.’
‘Trade tensions between the US and China are progressively affecting the growth output in both markets,’ he added.
The FTSE 100 has suffered sharp declines in the last five days amid growing US-China trade tensions, in which HSBC risks being caught
Flint said it had been a privilege to spend his ‘entire career with HSBC’.
‘I have agreed with the Board that today’s good interim results indicate that this is the right time for change, both for me and the bank,’ he said.
The outgoing chief will be entitled to 12 months’ salary and a ‘fixed pay allowance’ of £3.3million. The bank added that he ‘will be eligible to be considered for an annual incentive award’, but not a long-term incentive award.
Last year Flint was paid £4.6million.
AJ Bell’s Russ Mould said the move ‘may come as something of a shock to the market’.
‘The relatively abrupt move, apparently taking place by mutual consent, is not typical for HSBC and, for all the emollient words around his departure, hints at some kind of culture clash between senior management or a background issue.’
He added: ‘The task for his replacement could be a tall one, with a shift back towards a negative trend for global interest rates not helpful to the banking industry.’