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Read HSBC CEO Noel Quinn’s surprise resignation statement

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HSBC CEO Noel Quinn.

Lam Yik | Bloomberg | Getty Images

HSBC on Tuesday announced the surprise departure of Group Chief Executive Officer Noel Quinn after nearly five years at the helm.

In a statement released by the bank, Quinn said:

“It has been a privilege to lead HSBC. I never imagined when I started 37 years ago that I would have the honour of becoming Group Chief Executive of this great bank. I am proud of what we have achieved, and it has only been possible because of the talent, dedication, and commitment of the people at HSBC. I want to thank them wholeheartedly and wish them continued success for the next stage of the journey. After an intense five years, it is now the right time for me to get a better balance between my personal and business life. I intend to pursue a portfolio career going forward.”

First appointed as interim CEO in August 2019, Quinn took permanent leadership of HSBC in March 2020. He led the bank through challenges including the Covid-19 pandemic and deteriorating relations between China and the West.

The bank’s London-listed shares have risen over 30% since he became CEO.

On Tuesday, shares of HSBC — which also announced first-quarter earnings that beat expectations — were 3.6% higher at 11:04 a.m. London time.

The bank’s Chairman Mark Tucker paid tribute to Quinn’s leadership. “He has driven both our transformation strategy and created a simpler, more focused business that delivers higher returns. The bank is in a strong position as it enters the next phase of development and growth,” Tucker said in a statement.

HSBC said the hunt for its next CEO had begun, and that Quinn would remain in his post during this process.

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