HSBC has dismissed as
“offensive” and “nonsense” a claim that its chief executive
Michael Geoghegan threatened to quit if he is not promoted to chairman.
He was reportedly unhappy at the
suggestion he might be passed over for the top job at Europe’s biggest bank
during a meeting last week.
But an HSBC spokesman denied the
report in the Financial Times.
He said: “It is nonsense that
the Group CEO threatened to resign unless he was appointed chairman.
“The suggestion is offensive
to Mike and to the company.
“As previously stated, the
board is working under due process to finalise HSBC’s succession plan following
Stephen Green’s already announced departure.
“And this proceeds in line
with the scheduled timetable.”
The speculation was thought to have
come from a person familiar with the bank’s plan to appoint a successor to Mr
“He (Mr Geoghegan) was told
the board was not ready to give him the chairmanship and he was not
happy,” the person was quoted as saying by the FT.
HSBC has traditionally promoted its
chief executive to chairman, and the battle for the top job at the firm is
Hong Kong-based Geoghegan, 56,
would not be happy to see another chairman appointed over him, said the FT.
He would be especially angered if
the current favourite, former Goldman Sachs banker John Thornton, was given the
role, according to the paper.
The decision about the succession
is due to be made at a board meeting in Shanghai next Tuesday, said the FT.
People close to Mr Geoghegan played
down his threat to resign. “He has a famously hot temper,” one was
quoted as saying by the paper.