HSBC shortlist for CEO said to include Citi's Bird

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HSBC's shortlist for its next chief executive includes Stephen Bird, Citigroup's head of global consumer banking, and RSA Insurance Group CEO Stephen Hester, Britain's Sunday Times newspaper reported.

HSBC hired Egon Zehnder to help with the search process, the newspaper said, without saying where it got the information. The report said a key consideration is experience in Asia, where HSBC generated most of its profit last year.

Bird led Citigroup's Asia-Pacific arm between 2012 and 2015, while Hester ran Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC for five years in the wake of its taxpayer bailout and nationalization a decade ago. Hester joined RSA in 2014.

HSBC's interim CEO, Noel Quinn, is also seen as a strong candidate, the Times said. Quinn was installed after Chairman Mark Tucker ousted John Flint less than two months ago.

Tucker was increasingly at odds with Flint over the ex-CEO's focus on expanding in China, people familiar with the matter said at the time.

Bloomberg News