McKinsey partner Chira Barua joins HSBC as Head of Strategy

02 June 2020 3 min. read

Chira Barua, a partner at McKinsey & Company, has joined HSBC as Group Head of Strategy. 

Indian-origin Barua spent nearly seven years with the globe’s largest strategy consulting firm, across two periods. Before joining London-headquartered HSBC, he was a partner in McKinsey’s London office, and previously, he was an Associate Partner. In between the two spells, Barua was senior research analyst for UK banks at Bernstein in London, a US sell-side research and brokerage firm. 

Earlier in his career, Barua held strategy, management and operational roles at Standard Chartered Bank and Citigroup.

At HSBC, with 235,000 staff in 64 countries one of the globe’s largest banks and the largest in Europe in terms of assets, Barua has been tasked with forging strategy that will help the bank deal with the aftermath of Covid-19 and develop a future-proof business model as the bank navigates a growingly competitive landscape. 

Chira Barua, Group Head of Strategy at HSBC

Banks are nowadays facing competition from a cohort of groups, including the big tech (especially in payments), fintech’s (mostly across consumer banking segments) and digital-native players (challenger banks) that can operate more efficiently without having to carry the burden of legacy infrastructures. 

According to a recent report by Boston Consulting Group, following five consecutive years of declining economic profit, even before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, banks are under more pressure than ever to self-disrupt their own business models for a sustainable future. 

In its 2019 ‘Global Banking Report’, which Barua himself co-authored, McKinsey & Company put forward a similar conclusion, warning the industry that nearly 60 percent of banks are not generating the cost of capital needed to remain in long term business. “A majority of banks globally may not be economically viable,” said Barua when the report was launched. 

Barua will assess which markets and areas HSBC should focus on over the next 5 to 10 years, with some analysts suggesting that this could push the bank deeper into China and Asia in search of higher returns. Last year, HSBC’s European division was loss-making, while its Asia generated about 85% of group profits.

The new Strategy Officer is said to also eye expanding HSBC’s share in the high net worth segment of Asia Pacific – the region has the highest number of billionaires globally.