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HSBC: A year of transition

New chief executive John Flint has bought himself some breathing room to deliver the bank’s return-to-growth mode

Last year was always going to be one of transition for HSBC. The bank’s long-serving top duo – chief executive Stuart Gulliver and executive chairman Douglas Flint – both stepped down from the business.

Fortunately, the handover – to life-long insider, John Flint, as chief executive, and to the bank’s first-ever external appointment to a new role as nonexecutive chairman, Mark Tucker – was a great deal smoother than it had been when Gulliver took the reins seven years earlier.

Long-serving finance director Iain Mackay is also standing down, to be replaced by his counterpart at RBS, Ewen Stevenson.

John Flint has been dealt a relatively strong hand by his predecessor. It took Gulliver almost his whole tenure to wrestle HSBC into a coherent mix of businesses with a clear strategic focus.

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