HSBC is undergoing a metamorphosis. In the presentation accompanying its results today, the HSBC said it wants to "digitise at scale" as one of the core pillars of its new strategy. It's hiked technology spending by 18% to $3bn since 2018, has twice as many live cloud services as before, and is "scaling its digital capabilities globally" to improve customer experience.
In practice, this means HSBC needs some more digital transformation specialists. It already hired Catherine Zhou as global head of venture, digital innovation and partnerships, and Kate Platonova as chief data and architecture officer, based in London and New York, respectively, last November, and now it's made another big hire in London.
Jibran Ahmed joined HSBC in July as a managing director in strategic digital transformation. Like group head of strategy, Chirantan Barua, Ahmed has a consulting background. He spent the past 10 years as executive director and digital lab and R&D lead at Capco, and says he built out Capco's capabilities across digital architecture, data science and machine learning. Fancy.
As we've reported often, banks don't seem to have much problem hiring digital transformation specialists. The issue is keeping hold of them. Zaka Mian, the group digital and transformation director for Lloyds Banking Group, left Lloyds recently; Homa Siddiqui, the global head of digital transformation and product labs left Credit Suisse, as did Marc Feuerstein, who was running sales and digital strategy for securitized products for the Swiss bank.
Digital transformation specialists in banks typically complain that they're hindered by bureaucracy and are sidelined by existing business owners. Chuck Teixeira, HSBC's former head of transformation for global banking and markets, escaped from the bank in 2019 and now consults on how to achieve real change. Mike Warriner, HSBC's ex-Google former 'global CIO for digital' in the retail bank, left after less than three years for Skyscanner in 2020.
Ahmed is joining HSBC at a time of change in the bank's technology function. The bank appointed Steve Van Wyk as chief technology officer in January 2021, and changes seem to be underway. Marc Fungard, global head of compliance analytics is leaving, as Paul Ventisei, who'd worked at HSBC for 15 years, including (latterly) as head of IT for functions like finance, compliance and risk.
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