HSBC chief executive John Flint has stepped down with immediate effect, with the bank stating a “challenging global environment” necessitated a change of leadership.
Flint, who has worked for HSBC for more than 30 years, held the top role for a year and a half and will be replaced on an interim basis by Noel Quinn.
"I have agreed with the board that today’s good interim results indicate that this is the right time for change, both for me and the bank," Flint said.
On the current environment, HSBC said "the outlook has changed".
It said that US interest rates were now expected to fall rather than rise and "geopolitical issues could impact a significant number of our major markets".
It added: "In the near term, the nature and impact of the UK’s departure from the European Union remain highly uncertain."
The surprise announcement comes after the bank posted profits before tax of $12.4bn (£10.1bn), up 15.8 percent.
In the six months to June 30, 2019, net loans and advances to customers $1bn, with expected credit losses and other credit impairment charges impairments making up just 0.23 percent of that figure.