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Paulo Maia assumes the helm at HSBC Bank Canada on Jan. 7.

Ryan Carter/The Globe and Mail

HSBC PLC has chosen the head of its Australian division to run its Canadian bank, starting next year.

Paulo Maia, who is currently the chief executive officer of HSBC Bank Australia, will take on the same position at HSBC Bank Canada in early 2013. Mr. Maia will replace outgoing HSBC Canada CEO Lindsay Gordon, who is retiring.

Mr. Gordon will remain as a director at the bank, and has been appointed to the board of HSBC France, subject to shareholder approval, HSBC said in statement Tuesday.

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"After nine years as CEO of HSBC Bank Canada, it's the right time for me to move on to a new chapter of life," said Mr. Gordon, who has been with HSBC Canada for 25 years.

Mr. Maia has headed up the Australian division of HSBC since 2009, and was a senior executive with HSBC Bank Brazil before that. He joined the bank in 1993.

The moves come after a period of change that has seen HSBC cut back some its Canadian operations, including shutting down its consumer finance business in March, after trying unsuccessfully to sell the assets.

With no satisfactory offers for the business, which included private-label credit cards and underwrote non-prime loans for consumers, HSBC decided to let the existing loan portfolio expire rather than sell the company for less than its value.

The division was among several assets Vancouver-based HSBC Canada has looked to divest as part of a global restructuring by the London-based parent. Several European banks have been selling assets in recent years to bolster their books and boost capital levels.

HSBC Bank Canada chairman Samuel Minzberg called Mr. Gordon's time running HSBC Canada successful, in which he turned the division into a top-ten market for the bank and doubled its business. "Lindsay leaves behind a bank that is well positioned for growth," Mr. Minzberg said.

He added the similarities between Canada and Australia, particularly with strong resource-based economies, made Mr. Maia a good fit for the job. Mr. Maia formally takes the post on Jan. 7.

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"By virtue of its multicultural society and strong resources sector, Canada is well placed to capitalize on the rise of emerging economies," Mr. Maia said in a statement.

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