John Thornton, the former boss of Goldman Sachs, is resigning as a non-executive director of HSBC before the bank's annual general meeting on Friday, citing his "expanded responsibilities" at other businesses where he has senior roles.
His departure leaves a vacancy at HSBC for a chairman of the remuneration committee, and comes weeks after shareholders in Barrick Gold voted against the $12m (£7.8m) signing-on fee he received from the Canadian miner after he became co-chairman.
HSBC said Thornton's resignation was entirely due to the time pressures of his other roles. The bank's chairman, Douglas Flint, said he was saddened that a "substantial increase" in Thornton's workload had led to his departure.
Thornton, who received more than £1m in fees from HSBC in 2012, joined Barrick's board in February 2012 and was hit by the shareholder protest in April despite the firm's 85-year-old founder, Peter Munk, defending the signing-on fee and $17m total pay.
Thornton joined the HSBC board in December 2008 and has chaired the remuneration committee since May 2010, during which time he overhauled the bank's policies, requiring directors to hold their bonuses in shares until they retire. He had once been regarded as a potential future chairman of HSBC.
Head of Goldman Sachs until 1998, he will not now stand for election to the board of HSBC on Friday when shareholders assemble for the AGM at London's Barbican and vote on issues including the bank's pay policies.
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