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The surprising departure of HSBC’s chief executive

MARK TUCKER and John Flint (pictured above) always seemed an unlikely double act at the top of HSBC, Britain’s biggest bank. Mr Tucker’s first profession was football—he was on the books of Wolverhampton Wanderers, now a Premier League club—and you imagine he was robust in the tackle. He never made the first team, but instead became a star in the insurance business. He captained Britain’s Prudential and AIA, a big Asian life insurer, before transferring to HSBC, as chairman, in 2017.By contrast Mr Flint—slim, cerebral, with rimless spectacles—was an HSBC lifer, joining from university in 1989. He climbed the ranks in HSBC’s time-honoured way, running the retail and wealth-management division before becoming chief executive in February 2018.On August 5th, to general surprise, HSBC declared that Mr Flint was standing down after just 18 months. Noel Quinn, the head of commercial banking, will take interim charge. The bank’s tradition has been to appoint its chief executives from within—Mr Flint’s predecessor, Stuart Gulliver, ran the bank for the last seven of his 38 years on the staff—but it will look externally as well as internally for a permanent replacement.
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