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Hsbc Chairman Stephen Green To Be Trade Minister

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Stephen Green, the chairman of HSBC, will step down from the bank to take up the role of trade minister in the coalition government.

Green's departure, which was announced today, ends a 28-year career at the bank. With Barclays also today naming a new chief executive, Bob Diamond, the move heralds a major shake-up at the top of British banking.

David Cameron said he was delighted to welcome Green to the "vital role" of trade minister. "With Stephen's experience and expertise, I know he will make an invaluable contribution towards this crucial agenda, helping to drive strong economic growth in the UK," the prime minister said.

He said Green's job would straddle the Department for Business and the Foreign Office, and reflected "the enormous importance this government places on forging strong international relationships to open new trade links, promote British business overseas and maximise inward investment to the UK."

A source at the Department for Business said that the job was primarily to "oil the wheels" of industry and act as an ambassador to report difficulties.

Green said it was an "honour" to be given the job. "In an increasingly competitive and international world, trade and investment are ever more critical to Britain's economic success and I am delighted to be joining the government at this exciting and challenging time."

Hiring Green as trade minister will be seen as a coup for Cameron. Britain has been without a trade minister since the general election, amid reports that the prime minister was struggling to persuade a major City figure to take up the post.

Green, a lay preacher, has been executive chairman of HSBC since 2006 and steered the bank through the ravages of the financial crisis. Although HSBC made massive writedowns, mainly on its US mortgage business, it avoided taking bail-out money from the UK Treasury. Green had previously worked as chief executive at the bank for three years.

In May there were reports, denied by HSBC, that Green was planning to step down. Former Goldman Sachs director John Thornton was named at the time as a likely replacement.

Since the credit crunch struck, Green has spoken of the need for bankers to take a more responsible approach to pay and bonuses. He is understood to donate a substantial amount of his own salary to charity. However, many top executives at HSBC still receive massive pay packets, with five bankers sharing a £38m bonus pot last year.

Green has also been criticised for his role in the banking crisis, with some shareholders calling for his resignation at HSBC's annual meeting in May 2009.

He will not take a salary as trade minister, and will be elevated to the House of Lords. By convention, government ministers are members of the Commons or the Lords.

The previous incumbent, Lord Davies, was also a former banker, having chaired Standard Chartered Bank. Some reports have suggested that Cameron tried without success to persuade Davies to take up the job again. Sir John Rose of Rolls-Royce was also rumoured to have been approached.

Vincent Cable, the business secretary, was not involved in the recruitment of Green, which was led by No 10, but he was said today to be pleased with the decision, believing Green to have come through the financial crisis with credit. He has spoken publicly about the need for the banking sector to operate on a more ethical basis and take corporate responsibility more seriously. Gordon Brown is also said to be an admirer.

Green will step down from HSBC before the end of the year. A statement from No 10 added: "He will also be stepping down from BBA, CBI, BASF and ICC."


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Hilarious! A banker in charge of trade, and a nom dom Monaco resident asked to give his opinions on public spending. This coalition is priceless. Sure there are a few ex cons around that could run the Police?

...Mervyn Davies the MD of Standard Chartered was appointed Trade Minister under Labour ....both of these Banks are big on the Finance of Foreign Trade and operate in about 40 to 50 overseas countries....seems quite suitable to me...... :rolleyes:

Edited by South Lorne
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I thought he was threatenning to bu66er off with his bat and ball somewhere else because of "bank-Splitting" policies.

How does a UK trade minister have anything to do with an overseas company trading with overseas companies?

Edited by sbn
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I thought he was threatenning to bu66er off with his bat and ball somewhere else because of "bank-Splitting" policies.

How does a UK trade minister have anything to do with an overseas company trading with overseas companies?

....HSBC is a UK Company these days.....for now..... :rolleyes:

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thats my point, he was threarening to take hsbc overseas because he didnt like the proposed trade rules for banking.

now he is minister for trade?

...ahh ...but...was it him....?....he would have already been approached by that stage for the Government job....anyway if I were HSBC and the Government were threatening to break me up ...I would consider moving ...after all they HSBC moved here from Hong Kong after taking over Midland Bank....and could quite easily move to other pastures like Singapore which would better serve their geographical mix.....your reference to trade rules for Banking is a bit misleading....it is about 'break up'.... :rolleyes:

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