People Moves

Familiar Figure Becomes CEO For HSBC's Geneva-Based Private Bank

Tom Burroughes Group Editor 27 September 2018


The new CEO is a permanent replacement for Franco Morra, who retired after six years in the post.

HSBC has appointed Alex Classen, a prominent figure in the European private banking sector, as the chief executive of HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA and country head Switzerland.

He replaces Franco Morra, who stepped down in April this year. Morra’s tenure coincided with repositioning the private bank in Switzerland after a series of problems, such as a data leak by self-styled whistleblower Herve Falciani. Morra had been at the helm for about six years. Classen is seen as providing the experience to take the Geneva-based group into a further period of growth.

Classen will be based in Geneva. He will be responsible for private banking in Switzerland and Luxembourg, a Swiss subsidiary, and will oversee the wholesale banking and asset management operations in the Alpine state.

His appointment takes effect on 5 November and is subject to regulatory approval.

Classen has held senior roles in Switzerland, the UK and Asia over the past 25 years. He joins from Bedrock, an investment management company. Previously he was CEO, head of international business at Coutts & Co Ltd, and head of private wealth management for the EMEA region at Morgan Stanley International in London. 

Between 2000 and 2006 Classen was general manager, Goldman Sachs Bank AG Zurich, after spending five years as regional CEO of Pictet Asia, based in Singapore. 

A Swiss national, Classen started his career in 1985 at Pictet & Cie in Geneva.

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