THE chief executive of HSBC is moving from the UK to Hong Kong as the firm looks to the East as the world’s new “centre of economic gravity”.
The group said the move reflects its strategy to focus on emerging markets.
Chief executive Michael Geoghegan, who will keep a UK office, will also chair HSBC’s Asia business.
Group chairman Stephen Green said it was “absolutely right” to focus on its faster-growing markets, but added: “There is absolutely no question of HSBC pulling away from London.
“We will operate from two equally strategically important centres for the company.”
Mr Green, will remain based in London, where the bank will continue to be regulated.
HSBC suffered a 51% drop in pre-tax profits to £3bn in the first half of the year, but it is still considered one of the best performers in the industry.
The bank has been able to weather the economic storm better than many of its rivals, partly thanks to its significant business in Asia and emerging markets.
HSBC was founded in Hong Kong and Shanghai in 1865 and is the largest international bank in the region.
The bank said: “The move further positions the group for the shift in the world’s centre of economic gravity from West to East.”
Mr Geoghegan, who is 55, has worked for HSBC since 1973.
He will move to Hong Kong in February, but will also keep an office in London and make regular visits to the UK.
HSBC said it would continue to be based in the UK for tax purposes and the UK’s Financial Services Authority would remain its lead regulator.