Ex-Goldman banker tipped for HSBC

FORMER Goldman Sachs investment banker John Thornton was yesterday touted as the most likely candidate to step into Stephen Green’s shoes, after the HSBC chairman accepted the role of trade and investment minister in the coalition government.

Green is due to step down before the year is out to fill the last remaining vacancy in the cabinet.

Thornton, a non-executive director at HSBC, joined the board two years ago. A hardened industry veteran with very strong links to China – HSBC’s core market – he previously spent 23 years at Goldman, where he was right hand man to then-chief executive Hank Paulson.

However, HSBC insiders said a move over to the chairmanship for current chief executive Michael Geoghegan “should not be ruled out”. Geoghegan took over responsibility for the bank’s strategy from Green earlier this year when he relocated to Hong Kong, leaving the chairman free to play more of an ambassadorial role.

Green’s appointment to Westminster marks the culmination of an arduous search process for Cameron, who has struggled to fill the trade minister position since failing to persuade ex-Standard Chartered boss Lord Davies to continue in the role after the election.

Green, also an ordained Anglican priest, leaves HSBC after 28 years. He will also step down from his positions as chairman of the British Bankers’ Association and deputy president of the CBI.

BOB DIAMOND is known as a thrusting dealmaker but his appointment is a reward for remarkable patience.

Having started his career as a business lecturer at the University of Connecticut, Diamond spent 13 years at Morgan Stanley and four years at Credit Suisse before joining Barclays in 1996. He has waited 14 years to take the top spot at the UK bank.

Although the 59-year-old consistently denied an aspiration to succeed John Varley, declaring last year that his existing role of president “sounds like a great title to me”, Diamond has occasionally hinted at the depth of his ambition. In a 2009 interview he said: “I recall my dad saying about me once that the only time he’d ever heard me say ‘never’ was when I was asked if I’d had enough.”

RICH RICCI and Jerry del Missier, Bob Diamond’s trusted lieutenants, will become co-chief executives of Barclays Capital next month.

Ricci started at Barclays in 1994 following stints at the Bank of Boston and the Bank of New England. A finance graduate of Creighton University, Ricci is known as a details man who has been integral to BarCap’s rapid growth in recent years.

He left the limelight to his boss but Ricci was at Diamond’s side through the purchase of Lehman Brothers’ US brokerage in 2008. He became temporary chief executive to oversee the integration of the American bank.

Ricci’s pay has not come under the same scrutiny as Diamond’s, but he has earned decent sums in recent years even by Wall Street standards.

CANADIAN-BORN Jerry del Missier has been Bob Diamond’s chosen heir for at least two years.

Naming del Missier as president of Barclays Capital in 2008, Diamond told analysts the investment banking unit was “the machine that Jerry built”. Del Missier was handed control of BarCap’s important credit products in September 2007 before being given full deputy status the January after.

Educated at Queen’s University in Ontario, del Missier started his career at the Bank of Nova Scotia before moving to Bankers Trust in Toronto. He joined Barclays in 1997 from Bankers Trust in London.

Alongside Rich Ricci, del Missier won his spurs working on the Lehman Brothers transaction at the height of the financial crisis. The two men worked through the night on the deal.