Quinn, who joined HSBC in 1987, took interim charge of HSBC last August after the shock ousting of John Flint and has been auditioning for the permanent job since, despite media reports that chairman Mark Tucker preferred an external candidate.
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"Noel has proven to be the outstanding candidate to take on a role permanently that he has performed impressively on an interim basis since August 2019," Tucker said.
Quinn takes the helm as the bank faces a tough outlook, with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic adding to its longstanding woes of underperformance in the United States and a struggling investment bank.
Quinn's appointment ends speculation over who will run HSBC as it heads into what could prove the biggest economic shock in recent times as the coronavirus epidemic brings global travel and consumer spending in many countries to a grinding stop.
Tucker defied market expectations that the bank would name Quinn or an outsider to the role when it presented its full year results and new strategy in February, leaving the interim CEO in limbo and in charge of a plan he might not be around to execute.
Ian Gordon, analyst at Investec, said he welcomed the appointment which would provide the bank "much needed strategic clarity".
"I would have welcomed it with greater enthusiasm had it been announced alongside the strategic plan a month ago," he told Reuters.
Quinn will earn a base salary of 1.27 million pounds per annum, the bank said.