By Margot Patrick
LONDON -- HSBC Holdings PLC on Friday said it has hired longtime Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker Peter Enns as the global head of its financial institutions group, a senior hire for the bank six weeks after a group of employees complained to the bank's board about a struggle to attract talent.
Mr. Enns was most recently the chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs in Canada and held posts in Asia and the U.S. over 21 years at the U.S. bank. He'll start at HSBC in the newly created role later this month.
A group of anonymous employees, in an Aug. 25 memo to the bank's board, claimed that HSBC can't recruit and hold on to top-tier staff in the global banking business.
The memo, which HSBC is treating as a whistleblower complaint, attacked the co-head of global banking Robin Phillips, citing a litany of alleged failings in his work and leadership.
Mr. Phillips hasn't commented publicly on the matter, but HSBC said it is proud of the global banking business and of what Mr. Phillips and his senior team have achieved in the past few years.
In a memo sent to his group Friday and seen by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Phillips said Mr. Enns "will work with the regional heads of FIG to build and deepen our relationships across the client base." HSBC has an "increasingly deep bench of expertise across our franchise," Mr. Phillips said in a press release.
Mr. Enns advised on a number of deals during his tenure at Goldman, including the $20.5 billion initial public offering of AIA Group Ltd. in 2010, and the $15 billion sale of Wachovia in Wells Fargo in 2008. Goldman didn't immediately return calls for comment on Mr. Enns's departure or replacement.
HSBC sought to bolster its global banking business in 2016 by hiring Matthew Westerman, another senior Goldman banker, as co-head of banking with Mr. Phillips. He left abruptly last year after 18 months, with no reason given for the departure by him or the bank.
At the time, people familiar with the matter said he faced something close to a staff revolt because of his sometimes-abrasive management style. No formal complaints were lodged against him though, according to one of the people. The co-head role remains vacant.
Write to Margot Patrick at email@example.com