Quitting Quinn a shock to bankers

HSBC chief executive Noel Quinn’s surprise announcement to retire was even a shock to bankers of the UK-based lender, according to the Financial Times.

“Everyone is still in a state of shock,” the report quoted one HSBC banker.

Another said employees were “blindsided” by the decision.

Quinn made it clear that he had no intention to leave the bank in early December last year but decided to step down from his five-year role only after the Christmas holiday, the report added.

Quinn said on Tuesday that he plans to step down, marking the surprise departure of a hard-nosed leader who has overseen a raft of asset sales, guided the lender to record profit and lifted its share price.

The bank is aiming to complete the succession process in the second half of this year, with both internal and external candidates to be considered.

Meanwhile, HSBC reported pretax profit of US$12.7 billion (HK$99.1 billion), slightly ahead of forecasts, for the quarter ended March, along with a fresh US$3 billion buyback.

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