HSBC HoldingsPlc hired recruitment firm Russell Reynolds to evaluate thestrengths of its high-potential managers, compare them with the best rivalsoutside the group and look for candidates to fill potential gaps in themanagement roster, the Financial Timesreported.
The succession planning work comes amid rising speculationregarding likely successors to Chairman Douglas Flint and CEO Stuart Gulliver, whoare expected to step down in 2017 and 2018, respectively, according to theSept. 25 report. Russell Reynolds' work, however, is not aimed at looking forsuccessors for Gulliver, but at ensuring a strong roster of executives thatwould be able to take over from his successor.
John Flint, head of the retail and wealth managementdivision at HSBC, is seen as the frontrunner to take over the reins of the bankfrom Gulliver, the FT noted. Otherpotential candidates include HSBCBank Plc CEO António Simões and Matthew Westerman, who wasnamed co-head ofbanking in HSBC's investment banking arm earlier in 2016.
Meanwhile, former AXA CEO Henri de Castries is seen as the to Flint when he steps down, thepaper said. De Castries' potential appointment, however, will depend on whetherhe is offered a position in the next French government formed following the2017 presidential election.