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HSBC Hires Former Barclays, Treasury Legal Chief (Corrected)

Oct. 28, 2020, 4:39 PMUpdated: Nov. 2, 2020, 2:53 PM

HSBC Holdings PLC has hired former Barclays PLC group general counsel Robert Hoyt as chief legal officer, a role he will begin Jan. 18.

“We warmly welcome Bob as group chief legal officer,” said a statement from HSBC CEO Noel Quinn after the company announced the move Tuesday. “He brings considerable experience in some of the most complex legal and regulatory matters impacting the financial industry globally.”

Hoyt is a former general counsel at the Treasury Department who stepped down as the London-based banking giant’s top lawyer in August, making way for new legal chief Stephen Shapiro. Barclays said at the time Hoyt would remain in a vice chairman role through the end of the year.

HSBC and other big banks have in recent weeks been caught up in a leak of thousands of pages of financial records flagged by internal compliance officers wary about so-called dirty money and other illicit activities by clients. Some regulators are conducting probes related to the disclosures.

Hoyt will take over from Stuart Levey, a former under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the Treasury Department who left HSBC’s top legal role this year to become CEO of digital currency organization the Libra Association.

HSBC said that general counsel Richard Gray would serve as interim chief legal officer following Levey’s departure. Gray is now poised to leave the global banking giant, which is also based in London, in January to pursue other opportunities when Hoyt comes aboard to lead HSBC’s legal group.

Quinn praised Gray in a statement for his “dedication, support, and strong leadership” of HSBC’s legal team, wishing him well “for the future and gratitude for all that he has done for the bank.”

Hoyt spent the past seven years at Barclays, where he was involved in a number of high-profile matters. Barclays hired Hoyt in 2013 from PNC Financial Services Group Inc., which he joined as general counsel and chief regulatory affairs officer in 2009 after leaving the Treasury Department at the end of the second Bush administration.

Hoyt played a key role in orchestrating federal bailouts of several large U.S. financial institutions during the financial crisis of 2008-09. Prior to becoming the top lawyer at Treasury in December 2006, Hoyt worked in the White House as a special assistant and associate counsel to President George W. Bush.

Hoyt was previously an associate and partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr in Washington. He was vice chair of the law firm’s securities practice and was the youngest lawyer to ever serve on its executive and management committees.

Barclays recently saw its Americas general counsel, Emma Bailey, depart to become a deputy general counsel for enterprise risk, regulatory, and audit at Wells Fargo & Co. John Mitchell, a former vice president of legal at Barclays, also left the bank in January to become deputy general counsel at Stifel Financial Corp.

(Corrects John Mitchell's name in last sentence.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com