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HSBC's most popular guy got a £1.2m bonus for 2022, despite his six month holiday

We already knew that Georges Elhedery had a pretty fine time in 2022. In January, Georges, who previously ran HSBC's investment bank, embarked upon a six-month sabbatical which was all about personal growth and personal interests and involved learning a bit of Mandarin. When he returned, he didn't surface until September, at which point he eased back into work with some projects and a bit of travel to Asia before being anointed CFO (starting Jan) and the heir apparent to CEO Noel Quinn in October. 

In most photos of Georges, he is smiling. This is possibly what happens when you take six months off work to grow your person. But it probably helps that Georges was well paid during the period when he was actually working last year.

Today's annual report from HSBC reveals that Georges received a long term incentive plan (LTI) award of £1,248,000 (160% of salary), "in respect of his performance for 2022 when he was not an executive director." The implication is that this covered - at most - the six months he was not on sabbatical.

If Georges receives another 160% bonus this year, he'll be paid £2m for 2023 on the back of his £780k salary as CFO. Elhedery, who is a graduate of École Polytechnique in Paris has a markets background and hasn't been a CFO before, but HSBC says the board has 'put in place a tailored development and support plan' for him in his new role.

As we reported earlier, HSBC cut the average bonus for its material risk-takers by nearly 20% this year. However, the bank said today that its highest performers "received meaningful variable pay increases" compared to 2021. 

The bank revealed today that its program of job cuts has dwindled to almost nothing. At the end of last year, it had 219,199 employees, down just 498 on December 2021. - HSBC is less than halfway through the 35,000 job cuts it promised in 2020 and clearly isn't going much further. It is, however, chopping some highly paid heads: one individual last year received $2.2m in severance. 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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