HSBC makes what looks to be safe pick with Flint

To some HSBC investors and former colleagues, John Flint is a “safe pair of hands” and a “very solid choice” to be the bank’s next chief executive. Others describe the 49-year-old as the “John Major of banking” — citing the former UK prime minister as a way to illustrate his studious and low-key style.

Two big questions being asked by investors and analysts after Mr Flint’s appointment was unveiled on Thursday are: what kind of partnership will he form with new chairman Mark Tucker and what does the new leadership duo mean for the bank’s strategy?

“The first priority is to work out a modus operandi between the two of them,” says a top 20 shareholder in HSBC. “Then they have to clarify the strategy and of course one assumes and hopes that it will be along the same lines, with maybe some slight changes of emphasis.”

Mr Flint is variously described as thoughtful, studious and humble. “He has tremendous integrity,” says a former colleague. His…

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