Could it be that HSBC is a great place to work if you're a senior banking technologist - or is it just that once you've spent 17 years working in technology for one major bank, it's difficult to feel quite as at home elsewhere?
It's a question worth asking now that Molly Chowdhury, HSBC's former chief architect for the Americas, has returned.
Chowdhury, who is one of the most senior women in technology on Wall Street, first joined HSBC in 2004 as a manager on the global architecture team. In the next 17 years, she rose to be the bank's chief architect for the Americas, a role in which she upgraded the core banking system, managed the move to a new data platform, and built the architecture team.
In June 2020, however, Chowdhury quit to become head of commercial cards digital technology at Citi. That role didn't seem to work out, because less than a year later Chowdury is back at HSBC - this time as chief information officer for HSBC USA according to her LinkedIn profile.
Chowdury's return in an even bigger job comes as HSBC is in the process of restructuring its business and 'digitizing at scale.' In the presentation accompanying its fourth quarter results earlier this year, the bank described how new platforms for higher front end productivity, the automation of the middle and back office, and an increased proportion of spending on technology are all intended to cut an additional $1bn of costs by 2022.
In the circumstances, it's entirely possible that HSBC decided it simply couldn't do without Chowdhury, and made her an offer she couldn't refuse. Either way, Citi has lost the person who was digitizing its commercial cards business and Chowdhury is back at HSBC in NYC.
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