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Peter Wong, HSBC’s Asia-Pacific CEO, will become non-executive chairman and his role will be filled by two senior executives later this year. Photo: Handout

HSBC to split Asia-Pacific taipan role between two co-heads in latest management shake-up

  • David Liao, head of Asia-Pacific global banking, and Surendra Rosha, India CEO, to serve as Asia co-heads
  • Peter Wong to move into non-executive chairman role
HSBC, Hong Kong’s biggest currency-issuing bank, plans to split its top job in Asia-Pacific between two executives when its taipan Peter Wong Tung-shun steps back from a day-to-day role later this year, according to people familiar with the matter.
The role will be split between David Liao, who heads Asia-Pacific global banking and formerly ran the bank’s China business, and Surendra Rosha, who is CEO of the India business, said the people, who were not authorised to discuss the matter publicly. Liao moved into the global banking role last year.

Wong, deputy chairman and Asia-Pacific CEO, will move into a non-executive chairman role as part of the transition.

A HSBC spokeswoman declined to comment on Friday, while Wong could not immediately be reached for comment.


Hong Kong can't miss Greater Bay Area boat in post-Covid-19 recovery, Victor Fung of Fung Group says

Hong Kong can't miss Greater Bay Area boat in post-Covid-19 recovery, Victor Fung of Fung Group says

It is not uncommon for banks to split global roles, such as heads of investment banking divisions, between multiple executives to broaden a company’s bench and protect against any business slowdown from a key executive leaving.

JPMorgan Chase, for example, named Marianne Lake and Jennifer Piepszak as co-heads of its consumer and community banking business in May. They are both considered potential candidates to succeed CEO Jamie Dimon in the future.

However, it is the first time in recent memory that the top Asia role would be split between two individuals.

The taipan’s role has been an important one, in part showcasing Hong Kong’s importance to the business with the top Asia executive living in a home provided by the bank in the city.

David Liao, HSBC’s Asia-Pacific head of global banking Photo: Bloomberg
The first taipan house was an extravagant 20,000 sq ft colonial-style mansion dubbed Skyhigh on The Peak. The taipan house was sold in 1991 for HK$85 million to Kazuo Wada, the Japanese tycoon behind Yaohan department store chain, and the house was demolished in 1997.
The site where it stood was later bought by actor and filmmaker Stephen Chow, the director of Kung Fu Hustle.

The taipan now lives in a smaller home on Middle Gap Road.

The upcoming change in leadership comes as the London-based lender is doubling down on Asia under CEO Noel Quinn and investing US$6 billion in the region as part of a broader strategy shift as it seeks to tap into rising affluence in the Greater Bay Area and other parts of Asia. That includes hiring 5,000 wealth planners in the region.
Surendra Rosha, CEO of HSBC’s India business. Photo: Facebook
HSBC announced last month that it would sell the bulk of its US retail banking branches and focus instead on wealthy clients and international businesses there. The lender, which generates more than half of its revenue and the bulk of its profit in Asia, is shifting capital from underperforming businesses in Europe and the US.

The 156-year-old lender was founded in Hong Kong and Shanghai, but shifted its headquarters to London in 1993 following the acquisition of Midland Bank.

As part of its latest pivot to Asia, HSBC is shifting four of its global leaders from London to Hong Kong, including Greg Guyett, co-CEO of its global banking and markets business.
A Hong Kong native, Wong, 69, joined HSBC in 2005 after stints at Citibank and Standard Chartered. He became Asia-Pacific CEO in February 2010 and deputy chairman in 2013.
Wong found himself in the middle of rising US-China tensions when he signed a petition on HSBC’s behalf expressing support for a controversial national security law adopted by Beijing for Hong Kong last year. HSBC shared a photo of Wong signing the petition on its account on China’s popular Weibo social media network at the time.

Wong is one of the 124 members of Hong Kong’s delegation to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), an advisory body to the Chinese legislature that includes Communist Party cadres and non-members, business leaders, the press, religious leaders and representatives from Hong Kong and Macau.

All members of the delegation, including Wong, who is not a Communist Party member, were expected to publicly express their support for the legislation at the time. Many of the city’s biggest employers, including crosstown rival Standard Chartered, also publicly supported the law at the time.
This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Pair to share strategic taipan role in latest HSBC shake-up