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HSBC names new head of retail banking as Thurston retires

A branch of HSBC bank is seen near Westminster Abbey, in central London March 6, 2011. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
A branch of HSBC bank is seen near Westminster Abbey, in central London March 6, 2011. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

LONDON (Reuters) - HSBC said its strategy and planning boss John Flint is to take over as head of retail banking and wealth management (RBWM) next year to replace veteran banker Paul Thurston, who is retiring.

Europe's biggest bank said Flint will become chief executive on January 1 of RBWM, one of the bank's four global businesses. Previously known as personal financial services, RBWM has more than 50 million customers and made an operating profit of $4.3 billion last year, a fifth of the group.

Flint, 44, joined HSBC in 1989 and has worked in Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Bahrain, the United States and Britain. He has been head of strategy and planning and chief of staff to the CEO since the start of this year.

Guilherme Lima, who joined two years ago from McKinsey as group head of strategy, will take Flint's role.

Stuart Gulliver, group chief executive, is restructuring HSBC to cut costs and axe unprofitable areas to lift returns, which has seen several changes in senior management.

Gulliver said Thurston, 59, had wanted to retire two years ago but stayed on to manage RBWM during the reorganization, which aimed to make it more of a global business.

Thurston joined HSBC in 1975 and has run its retail banking in Hong Kong and Asia-Pacific and held top roles for Mexico, Latin America and UK retail banking.

(Reporting by Steve Slater; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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