HSBC Recruits Former Standard Life CEO David Nish for Board

David Nish.

David Nish.

Source: Press Association via AP Photo
  • Bank to nominate Chairman Douglas Flint's successor next year
  • Nish built up the U.K. insurer's asset management business

HSBC Holdings Plc said former Standard Life Plc Chief Executive Officer David Nish is joining the board, as Europe’s largest bank adds another high-profile director amid a search to replace Chairman Douglas Flint.

Nish, 55, joins in May for an initial three-year tenure as a non-executive director and will serve on the group audit committee, the London-based bank said in a statement Wednesday. Originally an accountant, he ran the U.K. insurer from 2010 to 2015, receiving plaudits for shifting the business toward asset management while cutting back operations that require more capital.

“David brings considerable relevant experience in financial services as well as in financial accounting and reporting,” Flint, 60, said in the statement. “His tenure at Standard Life was marked by business transformation delivering value creation, a combination which HSBC is similarly targeting.”

HSBC has recruited several prominent executives to refresh its board after coming under pressure from shareholders unhappy about a slump in the shares. Nish joins Axa SA CEO Henri de Castries and former leader of Diageo Plc Paul Walsh, who were named non-executives in November. De Castries, 61, has been touted as a successor to Flint after HSBC said last week it will nominate a new chairman in 2017 and he announced he’ll retire from Axa in September, earlier than expected.

External Candidate

De Castries doesn’t want to leave France after he retires from Axa, he told Europe1 radio on Tuesday. He’s not yet attended an HSBC board meeting.

Under Nish, Standard Life was “successfully re-positioned to concentrate on its investment management and distribution businesses,” HSBC said. Keith Skeoch replaced him at the Edinburgh-based insurer in August.

Nish is also a non-executive director at Vodafone Plc, London Stock Exchange Group Plc, UK Green Investment Bank Plc and will join the board of Zurich Insurance Group AG this year, according to the statement. He’ll be paid a director’s fee of 95,000 pounds ($135,000) a year at HSBC.

HSBC has previously committed to appointing a new chairman from outside the bank, who would assume a non-executive rather than executive role. Flint has had the position since 2010 and along with five-year veteran CEO Stuart Gulliver, makes up the longest-serving pair at the helm of a major European bank.

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