SBC parted with his £3.5m-a-year salary today head of finance Ewan Stevenson, a shocking move that could be unnerving markets looking for stability.

Ex Royal Bank of Scotland the chief executive credited with helping to collapse the once-state-owned lender is to be replaced by Georges Elkhedery as group chief financial officer in January.

Stevenson earned almost £2m last year with a £1.7bn bonus.

Chairman Mark Tucker, seen by many as a pest to City, said in a statement that he “would like to thank Ewan for everything he has done for the bank”. He “leaves with our best wishes.”

Amid talk of a possible windfall tax on banks, HSBC saw profit fell 40% in the third quarter to $3.15 billion, mainly due to a $2.4 billion impairment related to the sale of the French division.

However, it was much better than City’s predictions.

CEO Noel Quinn said: “We maintained strong momentum in the third quarter and delivered strong results. Our strategy delivered good organic growth across all three global businesses and net interest income increased amid rising interest rates. We maintained tight control over costs despite inflationary pressures, and stay on track to meet our cost targets for 2022 and 2023. We are focused on executing our plans and achieving a target return of at least 12% from 2023 and, as a result, higher payouts to our shareholders.”

Shares in HSBC fell 25p to 450p.

Quinn said of Elkhedary, who replaced Stevenson, that he is “strongly focused on execution.”