HSBC turns to ex-JPMorgan banker Guyett after 'mutiny memo'

11 October 2018, 11:11 | Updated: 11 October 2018, 13:45

HSBC is to appoint a former JPMorgan banker to a top role in its global investment bank as it seeks to draw a line under a recent mutiny which has raised questions about the future of the unit.

Sky News has learnt that Greg Guyett, who held several senior jobs in JPMorgan's Asian operations, will become co-head of HSBC's global banking in the coming months.

The appointment, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to be announced in the coming days, according to insiders.

It will come weeks after an explosive memo written by a group of disgruntled current and former HSBC employees accused senior executives of presiding over a culture of rewards for failure.

The memo, which is now being treated through formal whistleblowing procedures at Europe's biggest bank, was sent to Mark Tucker, HSBC Holdings' chairman, and John Flint, the new chief executive, who is regarded as having a lukewarm attitude to parts of the group's global banking and markets operations.

Mr Guyett will work alongside Robin Phillips, the other co-head of global banking, who was singled out for criticism in the anonymous memo but who retains the support of many of his colleagues.

"The division's leadership has, year-on-year, utterly failed to create a successful strategy," the note said.

"We are entirely fed up and demoralised and have no confidence at all in the existing leadership."

The episode has cast renewed doubts over the strategy of parts of GBM, even as its supporters point to HSBC's leading global position in a number of key areas of financing and capital markets activities.

One source said the appointment of Mr Guyett, who will replace Matthew Westerman, a former Goldman Sachs banker, would form part of efforts to demonstrate HSBC management's confidence in the division's prospects.

Mr Guyett, who has extensive banking experience in greater China, a critical stronghold for HSBC, also had a stint as chief executive of JPMorgan's global corporate bank.

More recently, he worked for Johnson Controls, the US-based technology and industrial group, and then as president and chief operating officer of East-West Bancorp, a California-based commercial lender which focuses on the US and Greater China markets.

In recent weeks, HSBC has announced the appointments of a number of other bankers, including Peter Enns, another former Goldman banker, who will head its global financial institutions group.

HSBC, which declined to comment on Mr Guyett's impending appointment, is one of the lenders best-positioned to exploit growing trade flows between the world's faster-growing economies.

It also continues to exhibit strong performance in businesses such as cash management and foreign exchange.

The overall GBM operation is run by Samir Assaf, an HSBC veteran.