Assaf, head of the global banking & markets division, will be replaced after almost a decade in the role and moved to a non-executive position, according to a report in the Financial Times on Wednesday.
Assaf’s departure may fit into a larger raft of lay-offs, after reports in October that interim chief executive Noel Quinn was planning to revive the bank’s fortunes by cutting 10,000 jobs, more than 4% of the workforce, focusing mainly on high-paid roles.
A "meaningful restructuring" of the GB&M division, along with other arms such as French and US retail, "looks likely" said analysts at UBS in a note to clients.
This is on top of over 4,000 redundancies already announced in August - when former chief executive John Flint also agreed to step down after just a year and a half in the role by “mutual agreement”, saying that the bank needed new leadership to tackle the “challenging global environment”.
The FTSE 100's second-largest company by market value has had a stormy year, with results in October bringing little joy as the bank announced it no longer expects to reach its target of a return on equity more than 11% in 2020.
Commenting on the bank’s third-quarter earnings, Quinn said that “performance was not acceptable” in HSBC’s business activities within continental Europe, the non-ring-fenced bank in the UK, and the US and was therefore “accelerating plans to remodel them, and move capital into higher growth and return opportunities".
Executive changes might be announced later this year or in early 2020, before Quinn unveils a new strategic plan in February.
Shares slumped 1% to 575.5p in Wednesday morning trading.