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Markets Magazine

HSBC Bets Big on China as Pressure Mounts in London

A low-key leader tries to turn around an icon of Britain’s imperial past.

From

The interrogators lit into Noel Quinn, as if he were a latter-day Neville Chamberlain. Where were his ethics? asked members of the U.K. Parliament. His morals? His stand against totalitarianism? Comparisons with 1930s Germany often seem “mad,” one politician allowed, but is any country “so evil and wicked” that Quinn would pull his business?

Quinn might have expected a warmer welcome, congratulations even. He’d only recently become chief executive officer of a 156-year-old bank, the biggest in the U.K. and one of largest in the world.