HSBC Appoints Liao, Rosha as Asia Co-CEOs to Replace Wong

People wait in line at a mobile Covid-19 testing station outside the HSBC headquarters building. (Photographer: Chan Long Hei/Bloomberg)

HSBC Appoints Liao, Rosha as Asia Co-CEOs to Replace Wong

HSBC Holdings Plc named David Liao and Surendra Rosha as co-chief executive officers of Asia Pacific, taking over from long-time regional boss Peter Wong to steer the bank’s expansion in its most pivotal region.

Liao, who was head of global banking Asia Pacific, and Rosha, formerly the CEO of HSBC India, will take over immediately and report to group CEO Noel Quinn, HSBC said in a statement. The 48-year-old Liao is a Hong Kong native, while Rosha, born in 1968, joined the bank in 1991 in India.

“We are investing $6 billion in Asia in the next 5 years and David and Rosha will lead this next phase of our Asia strategy as we focus on expanding and diversifying our presence across the world’s most dynamic region,” Quinn said in the statement.

The bank is betting its future on the region by steering billions of dollars in capital toward Asia, while shrinking or exiting unprofitable operations in other parts of the world. Key to this is tapping into China’s rising affluence and a plan to create an economic powerhouse by linking Hong Kong closer to mainland cities such as Shenzhen and Guangzhou in the Greater Bay Area.

HSBC Appoints Liao, Rosha as Asia Co-CEOs to Replace Wong

Liao and Rosha will both be based in Hong Kong. Liao has spent 24 years at HSBC and was seen as one of the front-runners in replacing Wong, who has been crucial in steering the bank’s sometimes rocky relationship with China. Rosha was named CEO of India in 2018 and before that had served head of the Asia Pacific financial institutions group.

“The re-shuffle seems to be oriented toward maintaining stability,” said Brock Silvers, chief investment officer at Kaiyuan Capital in Hong Kong. “Peter Wong will move upstairs to the chairman’s role, leaving his deputy Liao to likely run the crucial China business, with the the former India CEO Rosha left to run ex-China markets.”

Staying On

Wong, who had held HSBC’s top position in Asia since 2010, will become non-executive chairman of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp., the firm’s local unit, and serve as an adviser to Quinn and Chairman Mark Tucker. He had been preparing for his eventual retirement by mentoring Liao and Mark Yunfeng Wang, the head of its China operations, people familiar with the matter have said. Liao also formerly served as the bank’s China CEO.

A member of China’s top political-advisory body -- the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference -- Wong’s ties have been pivotal to mending relations with Beijing, frayed by the lender’s role in a U.S. probe of Huawei Technologies Co. He was also the point person when HSBC last year endorsed the controversial security law imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing.

Under Wong’s leadership, the region has become an increasingly important part of HSBC. Asia Pacific contributed 53% of total revenue in 2020, up from 27% when he took over in 2010, according to an internal memo Wong sent to staff. The contents of the memo were confirmed by a spokeswoman.

The bank also announced earlier that it’s beefing up its leadership further in Hong Kong, its biggest market. It’s moving Greg Guyett, the co-head of the investment bank, Nuno Matos, chief executive officer of wealth and personal banking, and Barry O’Byrne, chief executive of global commercial banking, to the city from London.

“Asia Pacific is at the heart of both HSBC’s past and its future,” Wong said in the memo. Given the capital commitment to Asia “and with three of the business heads shortly moving to the region we are getting the money, resources and focus we need to make the most of opportunities that lie ahead of us,” he said.

Hitendra Dave was named interim CEO of HSBC India and will take over permanently once regulatory approval is received.

Liao’s successor will be announced in due course, the bank said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.