The bank said on Monday that Flint would step down after just a year-and-a-half in the role by “mutual agreement” because the group needed a change in leadership to address a “challenging global environment”.
Flint served the shortest tenure out of the 14 chief executives of FTSE 100 firms that have left or set to leave.
“We may never find out the reason why, but the poor first-half performances from HSBC’s US and European operations, and the abandonment of a 2020 profitability target for the American arm, are one possible explanation,” said AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.
“Of Mr Flint’s immediate predecessors, Stuart Gulliver completed seven years in the job, Michael Geoghegan five, Stephen Green nearly three and Keith Whitson over five years so the bank does not appear to be in the habit of chopping and changing too much – which makes this seem all the odder, as Mr Flint was a HSBC career man.
“Perhaps new chairman Mark Tucker is looking for a ‘new broom’ approach after last year’s settlement with US regulators and uninspiring performance in both America and Europe, which made just US$226 million between them in the first half, compared to US$1.7 billion in Middle East, US$665 million from Latin America and US$9.8 billion from the powerhouse Asian unit.”