HSBC is close to creating a board-level marketing director’s position as it seeks to replace outgoing group general manager of marketing Peter Stringham, who is leaving to head marketing services group Y&R Brands.
Observers say the new position could be one of the world’s biggest marketing roles and would involve controlling the bank’s £350m global advertising budget and extending the HSBC brand.
The bank’s bosses, chief executive Michael Geoghegan and chairman Stephen Green, are understood to be in discussions about creating the new role, though no final decision has been taken.
A bank spokesman says this is speculation, and adds: "We are still in the process of looking for a successor and hope to bring it to a resolution as soon as possible."
Stringham, who joined HSBC in 2001 from his position as boss of ad agency Y&R North America, announced his departure from the bank in October (MW October 26, 2006). His role had been to persuade local markets to use the centralised advertising created through the agency structure of Team WPP.
But observers say that a board-level marketer would have far greater control and would be able to instruct local markets about which campaigns to use.
It is thought that Stringham’s position was weakened when chairman Sir John Bond left the bank in May for Vodafone and the refreshed management team took over.
HSBC is likely to search both internally and externally to fill the new position.