HSBC’s Tucker takes second chairman role at Discovery
HSBC chairman Mark Tucker has topped up his £1.5m salary by taking a new role at South African insurer Discovery, a move that may court criticism that he is spreading himself too thinly.
Mr Tucker, a former boss of insurance giant Prudential, will become the non-executive chairman of Discovery from next March. The £250,000 role will involve up to 25 days of work per year, working out at £10,000 a day.
While most of his time will still be devoted to HSBC, Mr Tucker’s new role comes amid concern in the City that too many senior executives are “overboarding” by accepting too many non-executive jobs.
Last year former Diageo boss Paul Walsh abruptly quit HSBC’s board in the face of claims that he held too many directorships, while Barclays said Debenhams chairman Sir Ian Cheshire would cut his workload after becoming its UK chairman last year.
It came after proxy adviser Glass Lewis recommended that the bank’s investors vote against his re-election because he sat on too many boards.
Recently, Royal Mail’s chairman, Peter Long, stepped down to focus on struggling estate agent Countrywide.
The renewed focus on executives taking on too much coincides with the non-executive chairman role becoming increasingly demanding.
TSB’s non-executive chairman Richard Meddings was forced to fill in for the chief executive earlier this year, for example, after an IT crisis led to former boss Paul Pester’s exit.
HSBC’s hiring of Mr Tucker last year marked the first time it had ever appointed an external chairman. The role is demanding, requiring his focus four days a week. A source said he has no intention of taking on further non-executive director roles.
Discovery said its relationship with Mr Tucker dated back to the group’s joint venture with Prudential 13 years ago. It said his experience would be “hugely valuable” to the group as it expands.
South African insurer Discovery said Mark Tucker’s experience would be ‘hugely valuable’ to the group as it expands