HSBC said to approach former AIG boss Peter Hancock as possible outside CEO

The board is said to have contacted Mr Hancock, a 59-year-old former JPMorgan banker, as a potential replacement for Mr Stuart Gulliver, who retires next year.
The board is said to have contacted Mr Hancock, a 59-year-old former JPMorgan banker, as a potential replacement for Mr Stuart Gulliver, who retires next year.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - HSBC Holdings has approached Mr Peter Hancock, the former boss of American International Group, to be its next chief executive officer as incoming chairman Mark Tucker considers internal and external candidates to lead Europe's largest bank, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday (July 4).

The board has contacted Mr Hancock, a 59-year-old former JPMorgan banker, as a potential replacement for Mr Stuart Gulliver, who retires next year, said the person, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity about succession issues.

In the meantime, top HSBC executives seeking the CEO role are said to have had informal talks with Mr Tucker, other people familiar with the matter said.

Before the appointment of Mr Tucker, also 59, who replaces Mr Douglas Flint in October, HSBC had drawn every one of its previous 21 leaders from its own ranks over more than 150 years, according to the bank's records.

The board responded to calls from shareholders for greater independent oversight after five years of slumping revenue and a litany of misconduct issues since the financial crisis.

An official for HSBC declined to comment.

Mr Hancock stepped down from AIG this year, following a seven-year career at the insurer. He lost the support of investors, including activist billionaire Carl Icahn, who pushed Mr Hancock to simplify the company and faulted him for failing to meet profitability targets.

Mr Hancock and Mr Tucker overlapped for a few months at AIG in 2010, when the insurer spun off Hong Kong-based AIA Group, which Mr Tucker formerly led.

While Mr Hancock would be an outsider, he is cut from the same cloth as many HSBC lifers. Born in London, raised in Hong Kong and educated at Oxford University - as was Mr Gulliver - he then spent two decades at JPMorgan, where he ran the fixed-income business and eventually became chief financial officer.

HSBC shares slipped 0.6 per cent to 725.3 pence at 10.42am in London on Tuesday (July 4). The shares are up more than 50 per cent over the past 12 months.