HSBC Names Axa CEO and Former Diageo Chief to Board Amid Revamp

  • Henri de Castries, Paul Walsh become non-executive directors
  • Rona Fairhead, Simon Robertson, Oracle's Catz leaving board

HSBC Holdings Plc appointed Henri de Castries and Paul Walsh as independent non-executive directors, adding the chief executive officer of Axa SA and former leader of Diageo Plc as long-standing members of the bank’s board depart.

“Their extensive international business experience and track record in shaping growing businesses, including undertaking business portfolio realignments, will further strengthen the existing skills on the HSBC board,” Chairman Douglas Flint said in a filing to Hong Kong’s stock exchange Friday.

Europe’s biggest bank hired MWM Consulting earlier this year to find new directors, one of whom may eventually succeed Flint as chairman, a person with knowledge of the matter said in April. Deputy Chairman Simon Robertson, 74, and Rona Fairhead, the 54-year-old chair of the bank’s North American arm, are retiring from the board at next year’s annual meeting. Safra Catz, co-CEO of software maker Oracle Corp., will leave HSBC’s board at the end of this year.

De Castries, 61, has been chairman and CEO of Paris-based Axa SA, France’s biggest insurer, since April 2010. Walsh, 60, was CEO of Diageo, the world’s biggest distiller, between 2000 and 2013.

The appointments will take effect from next year, HSBC said. The London-based lender’s board will consist of 14 independent non-executive directors, three executive directors and the chairman.

Fairhead, a director of the bank for 10 years, will hand over her responsibilities to Heidi Miller at the end of this year, according to the filing. Robertson has been a director of HSBC since 2006.

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