By Elaine Yu and Jing Yang
HONG KONG -- HSBC Holdings PLC on Monday said its Asia-Pacific CEO Peter Wong is retiring and it has appointed two veteran bankers to take over the running of its business in the region.
The London-headquartered banking giant named David Liao and Surendra Rosha as Asia-Pacific co-CEOs with immediate effect, giving them oversight of a business that is HSBC's biggest profit generator.
Mr. Wong, who held the top job in Asia for 11 years, has moved to a nonexecutive role. He will serve as chairman of HSBC Asia-Pacific, succeeding Laura Cha, who is also departing the board of HSBC Holdings. Ms. Cha chairs the board of Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd.
Mr. Liao, who is in his late 40s, was most recently head of global banking in the Asia-Pacific region, while Mr. Rosha, who is in his early 50s, was the bank's top executive in India. Both are veteran bankers who have worked at HSBC for more than two decades each and held a variety of roles in investment banking, capital markets and other areas. Mr. Liao also used to be president and CEO of HSBC China.
The duo will be based in Hong Kong and report directly to HSBC CEO Noel Quinn. They will also join HSBC's executive committee and sit on the board of the Asia-Pacific business.
The leadership reshuffle comes at an important juncture for HSBC, which has been caught up in geopolitical tensions between China and the West and is pivoting its business to focus more on customers in Hong Kong and mainland China.
The bank recently mapped out plans to exit most of its unprofitable U.S. retail banking operations and has committed to investing $6 billion into Asia over the next five years. It is expanding in wealth management, international wholesale banking and other activities in the region.
The region is a major profit center for HSBC, and also home to a large proportion of the bank's total staff. In the first three months of 2021, HSBC reported $3.76 billion of pretax profit in Asia, compared with a bank-wide total of $5.78 billion. At the end of 2020, HSBC had roughly 95,000 employees in its three biggest locations in Asia -- India, Hong Kong and mainland China -- out of a 226,000-strong global workforce.
In a message sent to staff in Asia on Monday, Mr. Wong highlighted the region's growing importance to the bank. He said it generated 53% of the bank's revenue last year, up from 27% in 2010.
The 69-year-old Mr. Wong will serve as an adviser to HSBC Chairman Mark Tucker and Mr. Quinn, the bank said Monday.
HSBC, in a statement, thanked Mr. Wong and Ms. Cha for their contributions to the bank. It said that under Mr. Wong's leadership, revenue from Asia grew substantially even as markets underwent rapid change.
Last June, as China's top lawmakers drafted national-security legislation for Hong Kong to quell dissent in the restive city, Mr. Wong was photographed signing a petition in support of the law at a street booth. His action was seen as putting HSBC on Beijing's side in its effort to tighten its grip on Hong Kong.
Mr. Wong and Mr. Liao have both taken up political roles in mainland China, as members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Born in Hong Kong, Mr. Wong belongs to the National Committee of the political advisory body, while Mr. Liao is a member of its Beijing Municipal Committee, according to a Beijing government website. The body is open to non-Communist Party members.
Write to Elaine Yu at firstname.lastname@example.org and Jing Yang at Jing.Yang@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires