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Stephen Green will step down from HSBC to be trade minister

The bank's chairman will step down to take up the post in the coalition government.

Stephen Green, the chairman of HSBC, will step down from the bank to become the coalition government's trade minister.

David Cameron announced the appointment yesterday, saying: "With Stephen's experience and expertise, I know he will make an invaluable contribution towards this crucial agenda, helping to drive strong economic growth in the UK."

His role will cross the Department for Business and the Foreign Office, reflecting "the enormous importance this government places on forging strong international relationships to open new trade links, promote British business overseas and maximise inward investment to the UK."

Green said it was an "honour" to be given the job, as such an "exciting and challenging time".

Britain has been without a trade minister since the general election. It was reported that Cameron was having difficulties persuading a big City figure to accept the post.

Since the financial crisis of 2008, Green has spoken of the need for a more ethical and responsible approach to bankers' remuneration. Under his watch, HSBC made massive losses, but avoided taking bail-out money from the Treasury.

He will be awarded a peerage to allow him to take up the role, as cabinet ministers must be members of either the Commons or the Lords. Reportedly, he will not take a salary.

His departure from HSBC ends a 28-year career at the bank, and is a significant shake-up at the top of British banking. Yesterday also saw Bob Diamond named as the new chief executive of Barclays.