At an annual meeting two years ago, Lord Hanson, then 70, said that he 'would be happy to stay on until 1997', by which time he would be 75 years old.
However, City insiders now believe he is planning to depart earlier having settled the succession to the chairmanship on Derek Bonham, a director of the company. He has already stepped back from most day-to-day executive responsibilities, taking on a more advisory role.
Lord White, who built up the US side of Hanson although he is not technically a director of the company, has already retired in effect even as an adviser, according to observers.
Lord Hanson's arrangements for his retirement are being compared favourably in the City with Lord Weinstock's decision to hang on for another two years.
There is less disquiet over Lord Hanson's age because his company continues to perform satisfactorily. However, GEC's poor showing has helped to focus shareholder anger on Lord Weinstock's intention to stay.
There will be considerable relief that Lord Hanson has not decided to cling on to power for much longer. His departure is being seen as setting a good example to other businessmen who might otherwise be tempted to keep their jobs into old age.
Institutional shareholders are widely concerned at elderly businessmen remaining in executive positions after the age of 70.