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HSBC Probably Already Counting The Days Until Its Next CFO Leads Its Next Unsuccessful Coup



HSBC is, to put it kindly, a mess. Profit is down. Its biggest shareholder wants it split in two. And it increasingly finds itself in the awkward position of attempting to straddle the growing divide between the West, where it is based, and China, where it got its start and which remains its most important market.

Not unlike ambitious number twos before him—indeed, not unlike his immediate predecessor—HSBC CFO Ewen Stevenson figured this put him in an advantageous position. He is highly regarded and wanted a promotion, and he didn’t care that his boss, CEO Noel Quinn, wasn’t quite willing to make way just yet. And not unlike ambitious number twos before him, Stevenson found that he didn’t have quite as much leverage as he thought, and so, quite unlike the other ambitious number two to whom we’ve been referring throughout, Stevenson won’t become CEO eventually.



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