David Prosser: HSBC keeps us all guessing

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The Independent Online

Outlook Also hoping to put its troubles behind it is HSBC. After the public infighting of last week, the bank's senior directors were all very gracious about each other yesterday as they met up in Shanghai for the board meeting that had been due to sign off on its management shake-up. Stuart Gulliver, HSBC's chief executive in waiting, was in particularly conciliatory mood, softening his tone on whether the bank might quit the UK.

Still, questions remain about what has gone on over the past week. If Michael Geoghegan, the current chief executive, really never expected to become chairman, why did he, or the bank, not say so amid all the speculation about whether he would get the job? Who – and it was clearly someone very senior – was responsible for the hugely damaging leaks, true or not, that so embarrassed HSBC last week? And what now for John Thornton, who many believe signed up for a non-executive directorship at the bank with the aim of becoming its chairman?