HSBC’s UK chief Joe Garner quits ‘rather than move abroad’

HSBC’S UK head, Joe Garner, is stepping down from the role at the end of October after less than two years in the job.

HSBC’S UK head, Joe Garner, is stepping down from the role at the end of October after less than two years in the job.

It is understood that his unwillingness to move abroad for his next posting with the bank was a key factor in his decision.

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Garner joined HSBC in 2004 and has been responsible for its retail and commercial banking business in Britain since December 2010.

He will be succeeded by the lender’s European retail banking and wealth management chief Antonio Simoes.

Garner said in an internal note to staff on Thursday he “had no desire” to join a competitor, an HSBC spokesman said.

It is understood that, after eight years in the UK, Garner was overdue a move abroad but had decided he wanted to remain in the UK with his family.

“I know it is time to move on but don’t want to work internationally so decided the right thing to do was move on from the group,” he was quoted as saying.

His exit comes at a time of big upheaval for banking in the UK, as the government presses ahead with reforms to split retail and investment banking operations and with banks’ culture and pay practices coming under closer scrutiny.

Simoes, who joined HSBC in 2007 from consultancy McKinsey & Co and had a spell with the bank in Hong Kong, will take on Garner’s roles and also retain his European post. He had been running retail banking and wealth management in Europe since the start this year, and is also a director of HSBC Bank.

Garner also sits on the Financial Services Practitioner Panel, an industry group which works with watchdog the Financial Services Authority.

First-half underlying pre-tax profits at HSBC fell 3 per cent to £6.7 billion.