Charlie Nunn has been a busy boy during lockdown.
Not only has the HSBC global retail banking boss been wrestling with his poor performing US division. Turns out he’s also been negotiating his way into a new job — running Lloyds.
Nunn is not a household name. In a business as vast as HSBC, few below chairman, CEO and finance director are. But his empire there was bigger than the one he’s now taking over.
For, while Lloyds is the biggest fish in UK High Street banking, compared with HSBC’s operations across Asia, Europe and the US, it’s not so large.
But you can see why Nunn has made the move. Having joined HSBC nine years from McKinsey, he was one of those in the running to succeed John Flint as CEO. But with Flint’s early ousting and Noel Quinn’s appointment as the replacement, he faced a five-year wait for his next shot.
For Lloyds, though, it’s a more surprising move. Executives there are vaunting Nunn’s expertise in wealth management — an area Lloyds wants to grow. Yet Nunn only took on that beat two years ago, adding private banking in February. As a classic cerebral McKinseyite, no doubt he’s getting his head around it, but a lifelong scholar of the art, he ain’t.
The good news is Lloyds is no longer the fixer-upper it was when Antonio Horta-Osorio arrived.Nunn will not be having to rip it up and start again.
The question is, can he get the share price up from from its rock bottom levels? With zero percent interest rates and a UK economy plunging 11% this year and 5.5% next, that’s a tall order.