HSBC has appointed John Flint – currently the head of the bank’s retail banking and wealth management arm – to succeed Stuart Gulliver as chief executive.

UK regulators had encouraged Europe’s largest bank by assets to consider recruiting an outsider as chief executive, but Mr Flint – who joined the bank in 1989 and previously served as Mr Gulliver’s chief of staff – was Mr Gulliver’s preferred candidate. He will take over from February 21 next year.

The announcement comes less than a fortnight after Mark Tucker took over as HSBC chairman. The choice of an internal candidate for the CEO role was widely expected after Mr Tucker became the first outsider to be appointed chairman in the bank’s 152-year history.

Mr Tucker said:

John has broad and deep banking experience across regions, businesses and functions. He has a great understanding and regard for HSBC’s heritage, and the passion to build the bank for the next generation. Through the search process, John has developed with myself and the Board a clear sense of the opportunities and priorities that lie ahead. Over the coming months, before he formally takes over the Group CEO role from Stuart, we will be working closely together to develop and agree the key actions required to ensure we build on and enhance HSBC’s current momentum.

Mr Gulliver, who has led HSBC for seven years, said “my primary role as group CEO is stewardship and to hand the company to my successor in better shape than when I started”. He said “with Mark and John leading the organisation, it is in great hands”.

During his tenure, Mr Gulliver worked to reshape Europe’s biggest bank by selling assets and shifting resources to Asia, while tightening compliance and governance controls after a series of large fines.

His replacement Mr Flint (who is unrelated to HSBC’s former chairman Douglas Flint), spent the first 14 years of his career in Asia, before taking up London-based roles including group treasurer and head of its asset management business.

Mr Flint said “the bank is very well-positioned for the future but we must continue to innovate and accelerate the pace of change required to meet the expectations of our shareholders, customers, employees and society at large”.

He will be paid a base salary of £1.2m per year, with a “fixed pay allowance” of £1.7m per year and a pension allowance of £360,000 per year. Mr Flint’s contract also provides for an annual incentive award of up to 215 per cent of his base salary, and a long-term incentive award of up to 320 per cent of his base salary.

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