(Adds WSJ report of timing of HSBC CEO Gulliver's departure)
LONDON, March 12 (Reuters) - HSBC Holdings Plc is
lining up Mark Tucker, currently chief executive of insurer AIA
Group Ltd , to be the next chairman of Europe's
biggest bank, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said
Regulators in Hong Kong and London have signalled they will
approve the appointment, one of the sources said, paving the way
for Tucker to take up the role in the autumn.
Tucker, the former head of insurer Prudential, and
once a trainee professional soccer player in Britain, would
become HSBC's first ever externally-appointed chairman at a bank
renowned in the industry for recruiting from within.
The appointment would mark the end of an era at HSBC, ending
one of the longest-serving chairman and chief executive pairings
at a European bank and would likely trigger the search for a
replacement to CEO Stuart Gulliver.
Gulliver will leave the bank in 2018, the Wall Street
Journal reported on Sunday, citing a person familiar with the
The announcement about Gulliver's departure and Tucker's
joining is expected to come after AIA confirms Tucker's
departure in a statement expected early Monday in Hong Kong, the
Journal reported. (http://on.wsj.com/2mzqbhN)
A spokeswoman for HSBC said the lender would nominate a
chairman to replace Douglas Flint this year, as previously
"Our process remains on track and the timetable is
unchanged," she said in an email.
Tucker took the helm of Hong Kong-based insurer AIA,
formerly the Asian arm of U.S. insurer AIG, in 2010.
Having led AIA's stock market flotation in the same year,
Tucker has since overseen the insurer's expansion in Asia across
18 markets to become the world's second-largest life insurer
with a market capitalisation of over $78 billion.
His experience leading both a large Britain-based company
and a Hong Kong-listed insurer will stand him in good stead to
oversee HSBC, whose most profitable markets are in Britain and
the Asian financial hub.
Tucker is currently a non-executive director at U.S.
investment bank Goldman Sachs, a role he will have to
resign from when he takes the chairman's seat at HSBC.
Last month, HSBC said the bank was not a position where it
had a shortlist of candidates to replace Flint, but expected to
identify his successor this year.
Sky News first reported the potential appointment on
Flint, 61, became chairman of HSBC in 2010 after serving as
its finance director since 1995. He and Gulliver have spent the
last few years shrinking HSBC, exiting more than 80 businesses
and cutting over 43,000 jobs as the post-2008 crisis environment
proved harsh for global mega-banks.
Flint in recent years attempted to strike a conciliatory
tone with often hostile investors at the bank's annual general
meetings, where he often came under fire over perceived
excessive pay for top HSBC bankers.
He has also been at the forefront of the banking industry's
lobbying after Britain's vote to leave the European Union,
testifying before the upper house of parliament that banks need
a longer transition period than the two years currently set out
after article 50 is triggered to start exit talks.
(Reporting by Lawrence White; Additional reporting by Kanishka
Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter)