CEO Noel Quinn said in a letter to staff Wednesday that HSBC () needs to “lift the pause” on job losses and reduce its global headcount by roughly 15% to 200,000 over the next three years.
“You will have seen that our profits fell in the first quarter, and virtually all economic forecasts point to challenging times ahead,” Quinn said in the letter, which was shared with CNN Business and first reported by Reuters. “The reality is that the measures and the change we announced in February are even more necessary today. We could not pause the job losses indefinitely.”
The bank is also under pressure in Hong Kong, where it made more than half its profit in 2019. It faced harsh criticism this month from government officials in the United States and Britain after its top executive in Asia publicly declared the firm’s support for a controversial national security law that Beijing is introducing in Hong Kong. At the same time, HSBC’s support for the law does not appear to have won over Beijing, raising questions over the bank’s prospects in China.