HSBC Greater China chief Wong leaves for external role

HSBC logos are seen on a branch bank in the financial district in New York, U.S., August 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

HONG KONG (Reuters) - HSBC Holdings' HSBA.L Greater China Chief Executive Helen Wong is leaving, a bank spokeswoman said on Friday, the second senior departure this week after the ousting of group CEO John Flint.

Wong has decided to leave to pursue an external opportunity, the spokeswoman said, adding that her role will be dropped and the Greater China region, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, would be run by the respective country heads.

Greater China is HSBC’s biggest profit driver, but the banking sector outlook in the region has been clouded by the tit-for-tat tariff war between China and the United States, as well as unrest in Hong Kong.

Flint and Wong’s exit also follows weeks of adverse Chinese media coverage over HSBC’s role in the arrest of Huawei finance chief Meng Wanzhou.

Wong, who joined HSBC in 1992 and rose to become its China CEO before being given the newly created role of Greater China chief in 2015, did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent to her official email.

The HSBC spokeswoman said Wong’s resignation was submitted at the end of July and there was no connection between her decision and Flint’s departure.

Flint’s ousting was announced on Monday in a move that the chairman of Europe’s biggest bank said was needed to speed progress in priority areas.

“Our growth strategy in China is unchanged. HSBC has been steadfast in its commitment to China for over 150 years. We will continue to support China’s growth and economic prosperity going forward,” the HSBC spokeswoman said.

Last month HSBC also announced the departure of the head of its U.S. business, Patrick Burke, after three decades with the bank. Burke will be replaced by Citigroup's C.N Michael Roberts.

Reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee; Editing by David Goodman