HSBC appoints Georges Elherdery as its new chief financial officer, putting him in line to ultimately succeed Chief Executive Noel Quinn.
Elhedery, 48, was promoted unexpectedly at the London-based bank after taking a six-month vacation in January, stating a desire to travel with his family and pursue personal hobbies.
Elhedery has been working on Quinn initiatives since his return to HSBC in September. He is one of numerous Lebanese bankers who have risen to the top of HSBC, including his predecessor as head of the investment bank, Samir Assaf.
The adjustment occurred as HSBC reported a 42 per cent drop in the third-quarter earnings, stung by mounting loan losses as well as expenses from the sale of its French unit as it strives to raise profitability and appease disgruntled investors such as China’s Ping An Insurance Group.
“There is no change in strategy as a consequence of these leadership changes,” said Quinn. “This is about how the group executive committee is positioned with potential succession options for the future,” Quinn told Reuters.
Stevenson, will leave the bank next year. “I am looking forward to some time off and thinking about future options,” he told Reuters.
“Stevenson was undoubtedly seen as doing a great job amongst the investor community,” said John Cronin, analyst at Goodbody.
“His exit is most certainly a surprise and it smells of a fallout at the top management level in terms of direction of travel for HSBC – which will raise many questions,” he said.
For the three months ending September 30, the bank earned $3.15 billion in pretax profit. This was down from $5.4 billion a year earlier, but it was still far more than the $2.45 billion average of expert projections provided by the bank.
The results included a $2.4 billion impact from the sale of the bank’s operation in France, which was part of HSBC’s larger effort to excise sections of its once-global empire to enhance earnings.
Net interest income at HSBC increased by 30 per cent to $8.6 billion, the highest in eight years, owing mostly to higher interest rates. Net interest margins increased to 1.57 per cent, up 22 basis points from the previous quarter.
HSBC’s CEO, who has been in charge of the lender on a permanent basis for more than two years, planned to “achieve its returns objective of at least 12 per cent from 2023 onwards and, as a result, larger payouts to our shareholders.”