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September 22, 2010    

HSBC chief in boardroom row over chairman role

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by Kay Murchie

HSBC’s chief executive, Michael Geoghegan, has threatened to leave the bank if he is not promoted to chairman.

According to the Financial Times, a person familiar with the bank’s succession plan, said: “He [Geoghegan] was told the board was not ready to give him the chairmanship and he was not happy.”

Earlier this month, it was announced that HSBC chairman, Stephen Green, is moving on to take up the post of trade minister with the Coalition Government.

Mr Green, a well-respected banker who steered the bank through the financial crisis without the need for taxpayer support, will assume his new role early next year.

The decision to replace Mr Green is due to be made at a board meeting in Shanghai next week, the Financial Times said.

However HSBC, which is Europe‘s largest bank, declined to comment about Mr Geoghegan but said “there is a due process to follow and we have said we would be announcing (a successor) before the end of the year.”

According to reports, candidates for the chairman role include John Thornton, a former Goldman Sachs banker. Douglas Flint, HSBC’s finance director, and Simon Robertson, the non-executive leading the succession process, who would probably have to resign as chairman of Rolls-Royce in order to assume the role of chairman at HSBC.

In related news, earlier this week, the chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group, Eric Daniels, announced he will retire next year.

Fifty-nine year-old Daniels is the longest serving CEO at a major British bank and will continue in his post until next year when a replacement is found.

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