HSBC boss attacks gay City leaders who stay in the closet

Emma Haslett
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HSBC UK boss Antonio Simoes said gay executives have a "responsibility" to come out (Source: Getty)

Antonio Simoes, the chief executive of HSBC's UK operation, has criticised gay City leaders who stay in the closet.

Speaking at a conference hosted by Deutsche Bank in the City today, Simoes, who spoke openly about his sexuality for the first time in a video message to his employees last year, said business leaders have a "huge personal responsibility" to come out.

We're in London, we're in 2014. It's not acceptable that we take for granted all the work done by others on issues such as marriage equality

Simoes, who described himself as "the short, bald, Portuguese gay guy", added that the fact he is "authentic" makes him "a more empathetic and a better leader".

His comments come shortly after Apple chief executive Tim Cook became the most prominent openly gay business leader, when he said he was "proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me".

At the time, Lord Browne, the former BP chief executive who quit when he was outed by a former lover and has gone on to become a civil rights campaigner, said Cook's decision to speak about his sexuality means he"has become a role model and will speed up changes in the corporate world".

Last month OUTstanding in business, a network for gay executives, published its annual list of its top 20 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) business role models. The top two spots were taken by Burberry chief executive Christopher Bailey, the only FTSE 100 boss who is openly gay. and Simoes. It also included Beth Booke-Marciniak, EY's global chair of public policy, Nike chief information officer Anthony Watson and WHSmith boss Stephen Clarke.

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