HSBC turn to veteran Assaf to replace Gulliver

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The Independent Online

HSBC has promoted capital markets veteran Samir Assaf to take over the multimillion-pound role as head of investment banking, replacing Stuart Gulliver who becomes group chief executive next month.

The bank yesterday announced that Mr Assaf, currently head of global markets, will become chief executive of HSBC Global Banking and Markets on January 1. It comes as Mr Gulliver continues to reshape the team at Europe's biggest bank following the his promotion to the top job.

Colleagues said the appointment was in keeping with the bank's tradition of promoting from within. Mr Assaf's background is similar to Mr Gulliver's and one insider expects his strategy for the controversial investment banking business to be "more of the same".

HSBC's investment banking arm has proved highly lucrative for its most senior bankers. Mr Gulliver was the highest paid executive director at the group according to the most recent annual report, with a package totalling £9.8m. Mr Assaf can expect a similar sum.

That figure outstripped even outgoing group chief executive Michael Geoghegan, whose pay totalled £5.6m. HSBC declined to comment yesterday.

Mr Assaf, who lives in London, began his career at oil firm Total, where he became head of treasury. He joined CCF in 1994, and four years later was appointed to run its markets business. He joined HSBC when the banking group snapped up CCF in 2000. After stints as head of fixed income trading for Europe, and global markets in France, he became head of Global Markets in January 2008.

Last year the operating income in the global markets arm hit $10.4bn (£6.6bn), while global banking was at $4.6bn. During yesterday's announcement, Mr Gulliver also outlined the restructuring of the global banking and markets arm, with the integration of the global capital financing division.

As part of the move Robin Phillips will become co-head of global banking, a division which will now include equity capital markets, leveraged and acquisition finance and project finance execution. Kevin Adeson, currently head of global capital financing, was appointed co-head alongside Mr Phillips. Jose-Luis Guerrero and Spencer Lake will become co-heads of the global markets arm.