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HSBC: Flint will need to find his spark

HSBC’s next chief executive must quickly show he’s the man to take the bank forward.

John Flint has risen without trace. That’s at least how it might seem to many outside HSBC. In a near 30-year career at the bank, its CEO-in-waiting has flown largely under the radar. Now he’s firmly in the sights of its shareholders, its employees and its itchy new chairman.

John Flint, HSBC

Flint was always the insiders’ choice and favourite for the role once Stuart Gulliver had announced his intention to step down. He fits the mould of previous CEOs of the bank – a lifer who has experience in many of the main business lines. He built his reputation in two key stints – as group treasurer during the global financial crisis and as head of strategy and chief of staff to Gulliver when he was early in his tenure as chief executive. As such, Flint helped formulate a way forward for the bank, which is clearly paying dividends today.

No one within HSBC has a bad word to say about Flint. He is liked and respected. He’s bright, but personable.

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