Amid Rumors of Layoffs, HSBC’s Top Global Marketer to Step Down After 15 Years

The reasons for Chris Clark's departure are unclear

Chris Clark, group head of marketing at banking giant HSBC, will soon be leaving the company after more than 15 years.

A spokesperson told Adweek, "Chris Clark will be stepping down, but he will remain in the post until a replacement is found."

Clark joined the London-based financial company (which is one of the world's largest) in 2001 as head of brand strategy after spending nine years in accounts at Saatchi & Saatchi, where he worked with such clients as Toyota, Barclays and Birds Eye. The reasons for his departure are unclear, and the company spokesperson said, "There is nothing more to add at this current moment in time."

Earlier this week, Reuters and other outlets reported that HSBC would be cutting "dozens" of executive-level jobs in its investment bank unit as recently installed CEO and Goldman Sachs veteran Matthew Westerman aims to make his mark on the organization. According to a report in Business Insider, the company also let several top marketing executives go late last year, including global head of marketing for commercial banking, global banking and markets Amanda Rendle. Clark was not affected by that round of layoffs.

HSBC has worked with J. Walter Thompson since 2004 when that shop won a review along with several other WPP units. In 2013, the client divided duties on its business by adding the U.K. offices of Grey and Saatchi & Saatchi to its roster, with the former handling retail promotions in Europe and Latin America and the latter working on the "premier" portions of its portfolio.

In a 2012 interview with Campaign, Clark discussed his efforts to reinvent the brand, saying, "There is a lot of jousting at the top of the house which is very cold-eyed and clear-eyed. … It is a very tough environment sometimes, and a lot of people don't fit."

HSBC is among the world's top advertisers. Two years ago, its yearly worldwide marketing spend was estimated to be approximately $575 million.

It is not clear at this time whether the departure of the company's top marketer will facilitate another round of reviews.