HSBC Investment Bank Chief Moves Aside as Restructuring Gathers Pace
By Margot Patrick
LONDON -- HSBC Holdings PLC is parting ways with another
long-serving executive, investment bank head Samir Assaf, in a
reshuffling of its management team that could see more division
heads leave the bank.
Mr. Assaf is in talks to move out of his current role and become
a non executive at HSBC's global banking and markets division,
people familiar with the matter said. The Financial Times reported
on the job change earlier Wednesday.
A successor hasn't been named and it isn't clear if one has been
lined up. One of the people said the job change talks were at an
early stage. Shares in HSBC were down 1% in a lower market, in line
with other bank stocks.
A wider shake-up in the bank's management team also could be
announced before the end of the year, as Chairman Mark Tucker looks
to speed up restructuring, one of the people said. HSBC embarked on
a board-led revamp earlier this year that has seen Chief Executive
John Flint ousted and its large French retail bank put up for
The bank's interim CEO since August, Noel Quinn, has a broad
mandate to shutter underperforming businesses and cut jobs and is
aiming to give a strategy update to investors by February. He's
vying with external candidates to take the CEO job permanently, and
has signaled there are no sacred cows in his plans.
Mr. Assaf, 59, is a markets veteran who handles some of HSBC's
key client relationships. HSBC goes head-to-head with Wall Street
in some areas of investment banking and trading, but the division
is relatively small and gets much of its revenue from corporate
clients using the bank for other services. Mr. Assaf joined the
bank in 2000 when it bought a French bank where he was treasurer,
and he rose swiftly through the ranks.
In 2011, he became head of the global banking and markets unit,
just as HSBC embarked on a vast restructuring that saw it shut
dozens of businesses and exit countries. The Lebanon-born executive
came to be seen as a survivor after rounds of restructuring and
infighting in his division.
Among Mr. Assaf's underlings to leave were the global markets
head, Thibaut de Roux, who departed last year after 28 years at the
bank, and the global banking co-head, Robin Phillips, who was
phased-out this year after a 15-year stint.
Last month, Mr. Quinn said the bank needs to simplify its
structure and shed some operations, to improve shareholder returns.
The board's call for a restructuring came in response to
geopolitical shifts and tougher economic conditions in HSBC's two
home markets, Hong Kong and the U.K. Violent antigovernment
protests are rocking Hong Kong, while the U.K. economy is being
tested by uncertainty over its planned exit from the European
Write to Margot Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 20, 2019 07:25 ET (12:25 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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