Oct 29, 2019

Quinn takes his turn at reshaping HSBC

Investors in HSBC might experience a little déjà vu as they digest the broad outline of a new plan from Noel Quinn, interim chief executive, who has pledged to "Remodel and reshape" the UK-based lender. The overhaul will prove costly, as HSBC takes a string of impairment charges - described as "Material" by chief financial officer Ewan Stevenson - to cover the cost of redundancies. Underpinning Mr Quinn's plan is the belief that HSBC is still operating in the straitjacket it was forced to wear after it was fined $1.9bn in 2012 for breaching sanctions and helping Mexican drug cartels launder money, according to people briefed on his thinking. Another investor asked whether Mr Quinn would still be in the job when HSBC executes the plan, noting that it was unusual for interim bosses to preside over an abrupt change in strategy. Mr Quinn is the only internal candidate for the permanent job, according to people briefed on the process, although HSBC is also considering external contenders.

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