HSBC names new chief legal officer

HSBC has appointed a new chief legal officer ahead of the impending retirement of its managing director and general counsel, Richard Bennett.

HSBC Holdings, parent company of the HSBC Group, has named former US Government lawyer and litigator Stuart Levey to serve in the post.

He will work alongside Bennett until he retires at the end of 2012 after 33 years with the bank.

Bennett will continue to work at HSBC in a part-time role as adviser to group chief executive, Stuart Gulliver. Levey, who will be based in London, will report in directly to Gulliver.

Levey served as the first Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence in the US Department of the Treasury from July 2004 to February 2011 under Presidents Bush and Obama. He went on to serve as senior fellow for national security and financial integrity at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Prior to his Treasury appointment, Levey was the principal associate deputy Attorney General at the US Department of Justice, having previously worked as a litigator at Washington law firm Miller Cassidy Larroca & Lewin, which later merged into Baker Botts.

Bennett, who is 59 years old, joined The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in Hong Kong in 1979 as assistant group legal adviser. He was promoted to deputy group legal adviser in 1988, going on to serve from 1993 as head of legal and compliance for Asia-Pacific based in Hong Kong.

He became group general manager and head of legal and compliance in 1998 before being named group general counsel in January 2010 and managing director in May 2011.

The bank has yet to make a decision on replacing Bennett as group general counsel.

Gulliver said: “After a distinguished career in private practice and government service, Stuart’s experience dealing with international financial and legal issues is highly relevant to a global bank such as HSBC. I am also pleased Stuart will be able to draw on Richard’s extensive experience over the next few months, and that Richard has agreed to continue as an adviser to me after he retires.”