Stuart Gulliver, CEO at HSBC, topped a poll which asked 74 institutional investors the three European banks which are "most in need of a change in CEO". The poll was conducted by Autonomous Research, an independent research provider on financial companies globally. The poll revealed that Gulliver, who has been in the lead role since 2011, got 26 votes. This was about double the votes received by Credit Suisse chief executive, Tidjane Thiam, who stood second.
The poll results, which are not due to be released publicly, indicate that top shareholders are increasingly getting frustrated with the performance of the London headquartered bank. This is amid HSBC's share price declining by one-third and its financial results missing several targets since Gulliver taking the lead role.
One top 20 investor in HSBC said: "Gulliver has two problems. His manner is too aggressive and he really does not like criticism. He also built the problem child of HSBC as the former boss of its investment bank." However, the investor argued: "He deserves to be given until the end of next year to see if he achieves the new targets. If he fails he should be fired."
HSBC, however, spoke in favour its CEO. It said: "Our CEO has a clear mandate from shareholders having received over 99% support for re-election at April's AGM."
A person involved in the HSBC board meeting last week also supported the bank's view. He said that management succession was not one of the concerns discussed at the recent meeting, making him believe that many of the people polled by Autonomous may not have been HSBC investors, according to the Financial Times.
With regards to management changes, HSBC chairman Douglas Flint had in March said that a hunt for his successor had begun. He had then added that the new chairman would "lead the process for selecting the next group chief executive [to replace Gulliver] in due course".
This poll comes in the wake of Europe's banking sector. Factors such as negative interest rates and a decline in investment banking income have caused several banks such as Barclays, UniCredit, Standard Chartered and Deutsche Bank to replace their CEOs over the past two years.