The chief executive of HSBC has stepped down after the bank said it needed a change in leadership to address a “challenging global environment”.

HSBC Chief Executive

John Flint is giving up the role he has held for a year and a half “by mutual agreement with the board”.

He will immediately cease his day-to-day responsibilities at HSBC but will help with the transition as Noel Quinn takes over as interim chief executive.

Chairman Mark Tucker thanked Mr Flint for his “commitment” and “dedication”.

However, he said: “In the increasingly complex and challenging global environment in which the bank operates, the board believes a change is needed to meet the challenges that we face and to capture the very significant opportunities before us.”

HSBC made the announcement as it reported a 15.8% rise in pre-tax profit to $12.4bn (£10.2bn) for the six months to 30 June.

Mr Flint, aged 51 who has worked at HSBC for 30 years, said: “I have agreed with the board that today’s good interim results indicate that this is the right time for change, both for me and the bank.”

Commenting on the current environment, HSBC said “the outlook has changed”.

It said that US interest rates are now expected to fall rather than rise and “geopolitical issues could impact a significant number of our major markets”.

It added: “In the near term, the nature and impact of the UK’s departure from the European Union remain highly uncertain.”

‘Good leaver’

Mr Flint has a 12 month notice period but it is not clear when his departure date will be because he has “agreed to remain available to HSBC”.

HSBC has also granted Mr Flint “good leaver” status which means he will be entitled to any stock options that vest after he exits the bank provided he does not work at a competitor for two years.

The bank said it has begun a search to find a new chief executive and “will be considering internal and external candidates”.

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