HSBC CEO Stepping Down
LONDON — HSBC's chief executive has lost his bid to move up to chairman and will leave the bank by the end of the year, the Financial Times reported Friday.
The newspaper said Michael Geoghegan was the loser in a boardroom battle to succeed Stephen Green, who is stepping down as chairman of HSBC Holdings PLC to take a government job.
Stuart Gulliver, the head of HSBC's investment banking operations, will succeed Geoghegan as chief executive, and chief financial officer Douglas Flint will become chairman, the Financial Times said.
The newspaper attributed its report to two unidentified people close to the HSBC board. One source reportedly said the succession was a "done deal" while the other called it "90 percent certain."
HSBC says no decision has been made, and declined to confirm reports that the board will meet in Shanghai next week.
Ian Gordon, analyst at BNP Exane Paribas, said the reported shake-up would make little difference to the bank.
"All this will leave the essential character, strategy and investment proposition of HSBC substantially unchanged," Gordon said.
HSBC's shares were fractionally lower at 663 pence in early trading on the London Stock Exchange.
Geoghegan, 56, joined HSBC in 1973 and has been group chief executive of HSBC Holdings PLC since 2006.
Gulliver, 51, a 30-year veteran at HSBC, is chairman of HSBC's Europe, Middle East and global businesses, and added the title of chairman of HSBC's British banking arm in April.
Flint, 55, joined the HSBC board in 1995.
Geoghegan steered the bank through the financial crisis without seeking a government bailout, instead raising 12.5 billion pounds ($19.6 billion) from shareholders. HSBC wrote off billions in bad loans acquired from its takeover in 2002 of U.S.-based Household International, which operated the Beneficial and Household Finance brands.