HSBC share price: Former boss expresses regret about Swiss tax scandal

on Mar 20, 2015
Updated: Oct 21, 2019

HSBC Holdings Plc’s(LON:HSBA) former chairman Lord Green has expressed his “dismay and regret” about the tax evasion scandal surrounding the lender’s Swiss-based private banking unit, speaking publically on the matter for the first time. The Tory peer was confronted by a camera crew from Channel 4 News, while he was giving a lecture at a City of London church earlier this week. The former HSBC chairman eventually agreed to take questions.

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“I share with my colleagues who appeared before the select committee the dismay and regret about what happened,” Green said. “We worked hard at setting high standards, I personally have always worked hard at seeking to follow high standards in my career and so what happened was dismaying and a source of deep regret, unquestionably.”
Green said he was proud of having worked for HSBC, adding that the company had worked hard “at trying to do the right thing”. He also said he was proud of how the present leadership team of HSBC “is taking it forward and learning from experiences”.
HSBC’s current chief executive officer Stuart Gulliver and Chris Meares, the former chief of HSBC’s private banking division, were questioned earlier this month by the Public Accounts Committee in relation to leaked files alleging that the Swiss unit helped clients evade taxes between 2005 and 2007. The committee has not called Green for questioning.
In the interview with Channel 4, he said that he wasn’t aware of the files. He noted that HSBC “is a large, broad, complex company with a major series of activities”.
Green was CEO and chairman of HSBC from 2003 to 2010. He left the lender in December 2010, in order to become UK Trade Minister in January 2011. He stepped down from his ministerial position in December 2013.
In today’s trading, HSBC shares were up 0.6 percent at 580.42p, as of 11:02 UTC. The stock has fallen 4.6 percent since the start of the year. The company’s market capitalisation currently stands at £113.3 billion.
In other HSBC news, the UK’s largest bank announced today changes in the roles of several non-executive directors on its board. HSBC said that Simon Robertson, who has served as deputy chairman of the board for nearly nine year, would retain the post for another year following the bank’s annual general meeting in April. However, he would step down as chairman of the lender’s remuneration and nomination committees, and as a member of the financial system vulnerabilities committee.
Sam Laidlaw, who has been a board member since 2008, is to become the new chairman of the remuneration and nomination committees, though this is subject to regulatory approval. HSBC also revealed that Rachel Lomax would become senior independent director, subject to regulatory approval. She will also become a member of the nomination committee.
As of 14:03 GMT, Friday, 20 March, HSBC Holdings plc share price is 581.05p.


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