Cesar Named HSBC's Hong Kong Head After 15 Years With Bank

  • Cesar was wealth management, retail banking head in city
  • Hong Kong operations in focus as HSBC adds to its bets on Asia

Diana Cesar was named HSBC Holdings Plc’s chief executive for Hong Kong after 15 years with the bank, including her most recent role, as head of retail banking and wealth management in the city.

Cesar will report to Helen Wong, the lender’s chief executive for Greater China, HSBC said in an e-mailed statement Tuesday.

The appointment comes after Standard Chartered Plc, another London-based bank with an Asian focus, also put a wealth-management head into a regional chief executive role. Standard Chartered’s global wealth-management chief Judy Hsu was named Singapore chief executive officer last week.

HSBC is shifting investment to Asia, the bank’s best-performing region, while cutting unprofitable divisions. The challenges in Hong Kong include coping with the side-effects of China’s stock market bust after the Hong Kong-Shanghai Stock Connect boosted the bank’s wealth-management business by pumping up local stock turnover.

Hong Kong contributed 66 percent of HSBC’s first-half pretax profit in the Asia Pacific region, according to its interim report. The retail banking and wealth-management business contributed the most of the lender’s divisions in the city.

Cesar starts her new job on October 1 and will continue to oversee retail banking and wealth management until a successor is appointed. HSBC’s previous head in Hong Kong was Anita Fung, who exited earlier this year after 18 years with the bank.

The changes in Hong Kong come amid a global shake-up for HSBC. In June, Europe’s largest bank unveiled a three-year plan to cut businesses to lower headcount by some 50,000 and reduce annual costs by up to $5 billion.

HSBC’s shares fell 0.9 percent as of 11:36 a.m. local time in Hong Kong, extending this year’s decline to more than 18 percent.

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