Sunday 13 November 2016 7:24 pm

Spanner in the works for HSBC chairman search, as Henri de Castries eyes French government role

HSBC may have to reconsider its options for who it wants to replace chairman Douglas Flint, as a top candidate eyes up a post in politics.

It has been speculated for some time that Henri de Castries, who joined the bank's board as a non-executive director this March, is the front runner for the role. 

However, the Sunday Times reported today that the former boss of insurance giant Axa is hoping for a role in French government after the country's general election next May, particularly if either Nicolas Sarkozy or Alain Juppe become President for the centre-right Republicans. 

Read more: Here’s why HSBC’s share price is up when its profits are down

De Castries announced he was retiring from his role at Axa in March, before formally stepping down in September.

Whoever HSBC's new chairman ends up being, they'll arrive in the role with at least one item already on their to-do list: finding a replacement for current chief executive Stuart Gulliver, who has previously indicated he will be departing from his role at the lender shortly after Flint says his goodbyes

A HSBC spokesperson said: "The process of identifying the next chairman is on track and we are evaluating a number of candidates. As originally stated we intend to announce a successor in 2017."