Stephen Green, the chairman of HSBC, will resign from his job at the bank to become the Government’s new trade minister.
Green, 61, will take up the unpaid post in the new Government before the end of the year, ending a 28-year career with HSBC.
The unpaid job was previously filled by Lord Mervyn Davies, also a former banker. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, is believed to have asked Lord Davies to stay on in this role following Gordon Brown’s expulsion from No. 10, but Lord Davies refused, prompting a search for his replacement.
Mr Cameron said: “With Stephen’s experience and expertise, I know he will make a valuable contribution towards this crucial agenda, helping to drive strong economic growth in the UK.”
Green’s role will be to straddle the Foreign Office and the Department for Business, acting as an ambassador for British industry and facilitating trade between the UK and foreign countries.
A lay preacher, said to have donated a good deal of his wealth to charity, Green is credited with having helped steer HSBC through the financial crisis after taking up the post of executive chairman in 2006. Despite losing hugely on US mortgaged-backed financial securities, the bank managed to struggle through the financial crisis without bail-out money from the UK Treasury.
He said: “It is an honour to accept this new role. In an increasingly competitive and international world, trade and investment are ever more critical to Britain’s economic success and I am delighted to be joining the government at this exciting and challenging time.”
The board of HSBC said: “We would like to thank Stephen for his immense contribution and commitment to HSBC over 28years, in particular his outstanding leadership as chairman during the financial crisis.”
By convention, government ministers are members of the House of Lords or of the Commons. Green is expected to become a Lord next year. He has already stepped down from his role as chairman of the British Bankers’ Association and as deputy president of the CBI business body.