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When 74 institutional investors were asked to each name three banks in Europe “most in need of a change in CEO”, HSBC’s Stuart Gulliver won hands down.
The poll by Autonomous Research is not due to be released publicly, but two people who have seen the results said Gulliver won by 26 votes — almost double those of second-placed Tidjane Thiam, who was appointed to head Credit Suisse less than a year ago, Financial Times (FT) reports.
“Gulliver has two problems,” said one top 20 investor in HSBC, as reported in FT. “His manner is too aggressive and he really does not like criticism. He also built the problem child of HSBC as the former boss of its investment bank.”
“He deserves to be given until the end of next year to see if he achieves the new targets,” said the investor. “If he fails he should be fired.”
HSBC, however, spoke in favour its CEO. It said: “Our CEO has a clear mandate from shareholders having received over 99% support for re-election at April’s AGM.”
A person involved in the HSBC board meeting last week also supported the bank’s view, as reported in FT. He said that management succession was not one of the concerns discussed at the recent meeting, leading him to believe many people polled by Autonomous may not have been HSBC investors.
HSBC announced earlier this year that it was looking for a new chairman to replace Douglas Flint by next year.