HSBC finance chief likely candidate for chairman: report

23rd September 2010, Comments 0 comments

HSBC finance director Douglas Flint is emerging as the likely candidate to replace Stephen Green as chairman, a report said Thursday, citing people close to the bank's board.

A choice between the two men previously regarded as frontrunners -- chief executive Michael Geoghegan and former Goldman Sachs banker John Thornton -- is proving too difficult for the bank's board, said the Financial Times.

The FT previously reported that Geoghegan, 56, had threatened to resign after it was suggested Thornton, a non-executive director at HSBC, might be given the top job at the Asia-focused bank.

HSBC has reportedly dismissed the claim as "nonsense."

But it was now likely that a compromise candidate would be appointed, said the paper Thursday, citing three people close to the bank's board.

Flint was the most likely candidate, they said, adding Geoghegan's threat to quit had lessened Thornton's chances of winning the top job.

Elevating the finance director to the chairmanship would allow Geoghegan to remain as Hong Kong-based chief executive.

The role of chairman at HSBC opened up when Green was appointed Britain's trade minister earlier this month. He will take up his new role in early 2011.

The decision about the succession is due to be made at a board meeting in Shanghai next Tuesday, according to the FT.

Speculation has been rife about who will step into the chairman's role after the departure of Green, who is leaving the bank in rude health after steering it through the global financial crisis without taking a government bailout.

HSBC, founded in Hong Kong and Shanghai in 1865, sees Asia as its most important region although it remains headquartered in London.

© 2010 AFP

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