The global financial services firm, which has emerged healthier than many others from the financial crisis thanks to its focus on emerging markets, particularly Asia, is expected to select a replacement for Stephen Green at a board meeting next Tuesday in Shanghai. Green is stepping down as chairman at the end of the year to become the U.K.'s trade minister.
Candidates in the running include front-runner ex-Goldman Sachs banker John Thornton, finance director Douglas Flint and Simon Robertson, the non-executive who is leading the succession process, although that would almost certainly force him to give up his chairmanship of Rolls-Royce, the FT added.
If Geoghegan did resign, the favorite to succeed him as CEO would be Stuart Gulliver, currently the investment bank head and the best paid HSBC exec, the FT said. Although, according to people close to him, Geoghegan is known for his hot temper and might not follow through with the threat.