LONDON—HSBC's Pierre Goad has taken on leadership of the bank's human resources function, in a new role that retains oversight of communications.

Médard Schoenmaeckers, who has been named to replace Goad's previous role as global head of communications, will report to Goad. Schoenmaeckers, who relocated from Switzerland to London one year ago, was previously head of global comms for the bank's retail banking and wealth management division.

Goad told the Holmes Report that he expects leadership of human resources to build on his work in developing a "modern, integrated comms function" at HSBC, where he has worked for the best part of 15 years.

"It demonstrates how far communications has come at HSBC specifically, but more widely as well," said Goad. "The skills and experience you gain managing an integrated communications function are applicable and relevant in other functions. Communications has moved past the press office era."

Goad admitted that it has traditionally been difficult for in-house communications executives to move beyond a narrow definition of their roles, and that there will be technical skills he will need to learn.

"This is an unusual move but I don't think it will be the last — it's the new modern, integrated version of communications," he said, pointing to such areas as brand publishing, employee engagement, community management and NGO outreach. "The leadership and strategic thinking are 100% transferable. Employees are our most important resource and our most important ambassadors."

Goad succeeds Ann Almeida as group head of human resources at HSBC. Almeida is retiring after seven years in the position and more than 20 years with HSBC.

Goad joined HSBC in 2001 in Hong Kong, moving to London in 2003. He held a series of global business communications and strategy roles until 2010, when he left for a one-year stint as head of communications at Zurich Insurance Group.

After returning to HSBC, Goad was named group GM in 2014, taking sole charge of the global communications function that he had previously co-headed with Charles Naylor.

Schoenmaeckers started his career with ABN AMRO Bank as a commercial and investment banker. In 2001, he switched careers to communications and has worked at Hill & Knowlton, Dutch chemicals company DSM and Swiss agricultural inputs producer Syngenta, before joining HSBC in 2012.