HSBC plc (HSBC)  said Thursday that John Flint has been named as the bank's new CEO and will take over from the retiring Stuart Gulliver in February of next year.

Flint, who currently runs the bank's retail and wealth management divisions, has been with HSBC for nearly 15 years and will be the second major change at the head of Europe's biggest lender following the appointment of Mark Tucker as chairman -- the first outsider to lead the bank in its 152-year history -- earlier this year.

Flint, an industry veteran, is not related to Douglas Flint, the former HSBC chairman who was officially replaced by Tucker on Oct. 1

"John has broad and deep banking experience across regions, businesses and functions. He has a great understanding and regard for HSBC's heritage, and the passion to build the bank for the next generation," Tucker said in a statement. "Through the search process, John has developed with myself and the Board a clear sense of the opportunities and priorities that lie ahead."

"Over the coming months, before he formally takes over the Group CEO role from Stuart, we will be working closely together to develop and agree the key actions required to ensure we build on and enhance HSBC's current momentum," Tucker added.

HSBC is not only Europe's biggest bank, it's one of the largest lenders in the world with a balance sheet that tops $2.5 trillion. However, its seen profits fall sharply over the past four years and some investors have been clamoring for a new direction in leadership at the venerable lender.

That said, the group did post stronger-than-expected first half earnings, thanks to firmer growth in Asian markets (where Flint's key talents were honed) and said it would add a further $2 billion to its existing share buyback program, taking it to $5.5 billion since the second half of 2016.

HSBC shares were marked 1% lower in late morning trading in London and changing hands at 750 pence each. Thursday's trading price, however, was largely the result of the shares trading without the right to their regular dividend. So far this year, HSBC shares have gained around 14.1%, outpacing the 8.6% gain for the FTSE 350 Banks subindex.