HSBC’s chief executive-designate, Stuart Gulliver, announced changes to the bank’s top management and structure today.
The changes are the first indication of his planned strategic direction before he formally steps into the chief executive role in January.
Paul Thurston, the current UK and Europe chief executive, has been appointed chief executive of a newly created division combining retail banking and wealth management.
Based in Hong Kong, he will lead development of a group-wide retail wealth management business, a sign that the bank is keen to tap the growing personal wealth held in Asian markets.
He will relocate from London to take up the post from 1 March 2011 and report directly to Gulliver.
The new division is Gulliver’s first strategic change since being announced as the incoming group chief executive in September.
“Configuring HSBC to realise its full potential in retail banking was always going to be my first priority,” Gulliver said in a statement today.
“With the massive wealth creation we see in emerging markets today, the logic for HSBC to build a world-class global wealth business for our customers is absolutely compelling.”
Last year, the number of affluent individuals in the Asia-Pacific region rose by 26 per cent to three million, a Capgemini report published in September found.
This puts the region on a par with Europe in number of wealthy citizens.
Thurston will also direct HSBC’s global retail banking, personal financial services and insurance businesses.
Brian Robertson, currently chief risk officer, will replace Thurston as UK chief executive as of 3 December.
Robertson will be succeeded by Marc Moses, while Joe Garner has been appointed UK deputy chief executive.