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HSBC lines up former CBI chief Fairbairn to join board

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Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, the former CBI director-general, is being lined up to join the board of HSBC Holdings, Europe’s biggest lender.

Sky News has learnt that HSBC is seeking approval from banking regulators for Dame Carolyn’s appointment as a non-executive director.

An announcement about her appointment could be made at or before the bank’s annual meeting in the spring, according to insiders.

HSBC's building in Canary Wharf
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HSBC has found itself increasingly ensnared by geopolitical headwinds

If confirmed, it would be the second FTSE-100 directorship for Dame Carolyn since she left the CBI late last year.

Last week, BAE Systems, the defence contractor, said she would join its board in March.

News of her impending appointment at HSBC, which has been engineered by the bank’s chairman, Mark Tucker, comes days before the lender reveals annual results that will be closely watched for the scale of coronavirus-related loan impairments.

The resumption of HSBC’s dividend after the hiatus in payouts by major UK banks last year will also be eagerly anticipated by investors.

Mark Tucker
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The appointment was engineered by the bank’s chairman Mark Tucker

HSBC has found itself increasingly ensnared by geopolitical headwinds over the last 12 months, amid tensions over China’s Hong Kong policy.

The bank’s chief executive, Noel Quinn, told MPs last month that its support for new national security laws in Hong Kong did not represent a political judgement.

An HSBC spokeswoman declined to comment, while Dame Carolyn could not be reached for comment.

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