Henri de Castries will retire from the chairman and chief executive roles at Axa on 1 September after 27 years with the French insurance company and 17 years as chief executive.
The 61-year old was appointed to the board of HSBC last year as a non-executive director and is believed to be a candidate to replace Douglas Flint, who revealed on Friday that a search was under way for his successor.
Britain’s bank has promised that its next chairman will not be selected from its senior management team – breaking with tradition – and appoint an outsider to the role.
Investors have been scrutinising the new non-executive directors appointed to the board in recent months as potential candidates to replace Flint, who has been the board of HSBC since 1995 and chairman since 2010. De Castries was appointed to the board in November at the same time as Paul Walsh, a former boss of Diageo.
De Castries, who joined the HBSC board this month, said he was leaving Axa with “great emotion” .
The HSBC recruitment process is being led by board members Sam Laidlaw, the former chief executive of British Gas owner Centrica, who heads the nominations committee, and Rachel Lomax, former deputy governor of the Bank of England, who is the senior independent non-executive director.
It is taking place during an overhaul of the board. Rona Fairhead – the BBC Trust chair who has been on the board for 12 years, and who chaired the audit committee at the time of the tax scandal in its Swiss arm – is leaving at the annual general meeting next month.
the deputy chairman, Sir Simon Robertson, who has been on the board 10 years, is also going at the AGM.
This article was written by Jill Treanor, for theguardian.com on Monday 21st March 2016 12.24 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010