HSBC has tens of thousands of technology staff, and they have a new boss with a reputation for shaking things up. Darryl West, chief information officer at Barclays, has left the bank to become group CIO at HSBC, according to sources close to the situation.
In a world where banks are increasingly competing against tech-savvy start-ups, who you have at the top in technology is ever-more important. West is someone who can shake things up in IT – he oversaw technology at Lloyds Banking Group during its post-crisis transformation and took the reins at Barclays in September 2013, shortly before it unveiled a huge restructuring.
Should technologists at HSBC be worried? Maybe, but the bank's IT department has already undergone huge changes over the past two years. It has around 20,000 technologists working in eight offshore centres in India, China, Brazil, Malaysia, Poland and Canada and 40% of IT headcount related to its investment bank is based in these cheaper locations. What's more, it cut 6,000 IT staff only two years ago and said in its annual report in 2013 that it would shift the "mix of employees to lower cost destinations" when it comes to software development.
West's appointment has been pitched to employees as a move towards a more efficient and dynamic technology approach. An internal memo sent to employees at HSBC to confirm West’s appointment yesterday said that he would be looking to transform technology into a “flexible function with strong commercial awareness” and that this would entail merging the current siloed IT, operations and software delivery functions into one “group-wide IT organisation”. Banking is increasingly a technology-led industry, the memo said.
Barclays confirmed that West left in December to “pursue external opportunities”. HSBC declined to comment on the appointment. However, we understand that West will report into group COO Andy Maguire, who took his current role in October 2014.
West joined Barclays in September 2013, having previously been with Lloyds since 2005. He oversaw the technology merger after Lloyds acquired HBOS in 2009, which was one of the largest and most complex financial services IT integrations and cemented his reputation as a transformation specialist. During his time at Barclays, he also served as chief information and operations officer from November 2013, following the departure of Shaygan Kheradpir. Michael Harte took over the role in May last year.
West’s appointment comes at a time when technology’s star is rising in both retail and investment banking. There’s been a battle for talent at the top of the tree, and even Goldman Sachs’ CEO Lloyd Blankfein said that banks are, essentially, technology companies.
West was on Barclays’ executive committee and received £504k worth of share options last year. Typically, even divisional CIOs in banking bring in total compensation of over £1m.