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12 Mar 2008

HSBC positions Russia business for future growth

HSBC today re-affirmed its strategic focus on Russia with a string of new announcements designed to strengthen its growing franchise. Stuart Lawson, a Russia expert with over a decade's experience of running banks in Russia, has been appointed CEO designate with a mandate to accelerate HSBC's growth across the country. To support this strategy, HSBC has approved an injection of US$200m of new capital, subject to Central Bank of Russia and other local approvals. This will be used to fuel the bank's expansion plans across all business lines.

This process has already begun with the opening of three new regional representative offices in Ekaterinburg, Novosibirsk and Saint Petersburg. The new offices will offer corporate clients a wide range of commercial banking services as well as access to HSBC's unrivalled international network in 83 countries and territories. 

Stephen Green, Group Chairman, HSBC holdings, said: "Russia, along with the other BRIC countries, is a key strategic focus for the Group." He continued: "HSBC's ambitions in Russia are exemplified by our decision to inject a significant sum of new money into the business and I've no doubt that the appointment of Stuart Lawson as new CEO will prove invaluable as we seek to grow our businesses there."

Stuart replaces career HSBC banker Jon Hartley, who returns to the UK following a successful assignment in the country. Under his leadership, HSBC expanded its global banking and markets business and obtained a retail banking license.

Russia, a resource-rich economy of 142 million, has the largest population in Europe. It has experienced rapid growth in recent years with GDP per head rising from less than US$2,000 in 1998 to around US$9,000 at current rates of exchange.

HSBC's presence in Russia dates back to 1918. For the last decade it has focused on providing corporate banking, treasury and advisory services to multinational and Russian corporate and institutional clients and currently employs more than 200 people.

Media inquiries to Neil Brazil on +44 20 7992 1572 or at neilbrazil@hsbc.com

Stuart Lawson biography
Stuart has had a long and successful career with Citibank where he was CEO in Russia overseeing their start-up and expansion in the 1990s. From 2001 he was Chairman of Deltabank and from 2004 he was Chairman and CEO of Bank Soyuz, a mid-sized Russian bank. In 2007 Stuart was awarded the title 'Russian Banker of the Year' by a committee of the Russian banking industry - the only foreign banker to receive such an award.

HSBC Russia
The HSBC Group is one of the largest banking and financial services organisations in the world. In Russia, the Group operates through OOO HSBC Bank (RR), a subsidiary of HSBC Bank plc. HSBC provides a wide range of corporate banking, investment banking and financial markets products and services to multinational and domestic corporate and institutional customers in Russia.

HSBC Holdings plc
HSBC Holdings plc serves over 128 million customers worldwide through around 10,000 offices in 83 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. With assets of some US$2,354 billion at 31 December 2007, HSBC is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organisations. HSBC is marketed worldwide as 'The world's local bank'.

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