HSBC says will not drop CEO relocation plans

25th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Global banking giant HSBC on Tuesday flatly denied a media report that its new chief executive had dropped plans to relocate to Hong Kong.

The Financial Times newspaper reported that Stuart Gulliver would remain in Britain, because its time zone was most convenient for running HSBC's global business. The paper cited insiders at the bank.

However, HSBC labelled the report as "entirely incorrect."

"Reports that plans for the principal office of HSBC's Group CEO in Hong Kong have changed and that he will remain based in London are entirely incorrect," the group said in a statement.

"The group CEO's principal office moved to Hong Kong in 2009. This was reconfirmed in the group's succession announcement on 24 September last year and nothing whatsoever has changed.

"Mr Gulliver, who has permanent Hong Kong residency and has spent most of his working life there, will spend as much time in Hong Kong as anywhere else in the world. He will move back into the HSBC house he previously occupied in Hong Kong."

Gulliver, HSBC's former head of investment banking whose hiring was announced in September, replaced Michael Geoghegan who stepped down after he reportedly lost a boardroom battle for the chairman's job.

Geoghegan relocated to Hong Kong prior to his departure, as the bank targeted Asia's strong growth recovery after the financial crisis.

"As previously announced and in common with current practice, the CEO will retain an office in London where the group is headquartered," HSBC also said in Tuesday's statement.

"In the interests of running a company with a presence in 86 countries and territories, the role requires the CEO to spend a very significant amount of time visiting HSBC's businesses around the world," it added.

Although its headquarters are in London, HSBC was founded in Hong Kong and Shanghai in 1865 and the bank sees Asia as its most important region.

© 2011 AFP

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