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HSBC banker avoids Hong Kong move after objections

Back in April 2021, HSBC’s CEO Noel Quinn signalled an acceleration of the bank’s strategic shift to Asia with the announcement that Greg Guyett, co-head of HSBC’s global banking and markets division would relocate to Hong Kong “in the second half of the year,” along with Nuno Matos, chief executive of wealth and personal banking, Barry O’Byrne, chief executive of global commercial banking and Nicolas Moreau, head of asset management

Moreau, Matos and O’Byrne packed up and dutifully headed to Hong Kong, but Guyett delayed his move, telling colleagues that Hong Kong’s draconian COVID-19 quarantine laws made it impossible to visit clients and colleagues across the world, given his global responsibilities.  He was also understood to be reluctant to shift his family across.

At least he went. Guyett has gone nowhere. In January 2022, the relocation plan was delayed further when Georges Elhedery, Guyett’s co-head who ran the markets division, said he was taking a six-month sabbatical for “personal development and growth.”  Guyett promptly declared that he was going nowhere because, "adding a personal move on top of the expansion of my responsibilities is a bridge too far.” 

Now, he is staying in London indefinitely. Elhedery will become group CFO from January 1, while Guyett will take sole responsibility for banking and markets, giving him a much-expanded remit. That promotion means the switch to Hong Kong has been shelved.  A source said that Guyett will now remain based in London but expects to spend “a significant amount of time” working from Hong Kong given the importance of Asia to the strategy and growth of the global banking and markets division.

While Guyett’s decision to stay in London doesn’t therefore signal a shift in strategy, it’s further evidence that Hong Kong is perhaps not the draw it once was for expats.

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AUTHORDavid Rothnie Insider Comment

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