HSBC chief drops Hong Kong move: report

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The new chief executive of HSBC has dropped plans to relocate to Hong Kong, where his predecessor was based to push the bank's Asia business, and will stay in London, a report said Tuesday.

Stuart Gulliver will remain in Britain because its time zone is most convenient for running HSBC's global business, the Financial Times said, adding that he still planned to spend one week a month in the Chinese financial hub.

The decision comes despite HSBC saying after Gulliver was hired that he would move to Asia, but still maintain a regular presence in London.

The bank's new chairman, Douglas Flint, is also based in London.

An HSBC spokeswoman did not immediately comment on the report.

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.

In 2009, HSBC said Geoghegan would move to Hong Kong as the bank targeted Asia's strong growth, building on its recovery after the financial crisis.

The FT report Tuesday quoted a "close associate" of Gulliver's as saying the bank boss was mindful of offending Chinese officials who had embraced Geoghegan's move.

"(Gulliver) has appointed strong people to head the Asian 'offensive' so he doesn't need to be there all the time himself," the unnamed source said.

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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