Date
26 March 2017
AIA Group chief executive Mark Tucker (second from right) is seen at Tottenham Hotspur's sponsorship announcement. The 16 million-pound deal, the lowest among the top six Premier League clubs, is a bargain for AIA. Photo: Tottenham Hotspur
AIA Group chief executive Mark Tucker (second from right) is seen at Tottenham Hotspur's sponsorship announcement. The 16 million-pound deal, the lowest among the top six Premier League clubs, is a bargain for AIA. Photo: Tottenham Hotspur

Soccer fan Mark Tucker to lead HSBC

Mark Tucker, the chief executive of Hong Kong-based insurer AIA, will become the first outsider to serve as chairman of HSBC Holdings.

Tucker started his career as a professional footballer, making appearances for Wolverhampton Wanderers, Rochdale and Barnet. But he never played a first-team match.

After returning to school and obtaining a degree in business management at the University of Leeds, he qualified as an accountant and worked with PwC.

He joined Prudential in 1986, initially working as a portfolio manager. He was appointed chief executive of the British insurer in 2005 and went on to lead AIA in 2010.

Tucker is a Chelsea fan but AIA signed a five-year sponsorship contract with Tottenham Hotspur in 2014. The deal is reportedly worth 16 million pounds (US$18.34 million) a year. AIA’s logo will appear on the front of Tottenham’s shirts in all competitions until 2019.

Under Tucker’s leadership, AIA has posted robust earnings growth and its share price has outperformed those of HSBC and its rivals.

It’s widely expected that Tucker will bring an outsider’s perspective to Europe’s largest bank and help stem its sliding profit.

Tucker has bet heavily on offshore insurance in Hong Kong, infrastructure investment in Asia Pacific and the bancassurance model.

The Spurs have hired 42-year-old Argentinian Mauricio Pochettino as club manager and introduced South American football techniques. The traditional British football club is now one of the top teams in the Premier League.

At present, the Spurs are ranked second, followed by Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United. Chelsea is ranked first.

It’s reported that the shirt sponsorship deals for the three football clubs are worth 25 million pounds, 30 million pounds and 47 million pounds, respectively.

Tucker, a savvy businessman, has definitely landed a good bargain.

It remains to be seen if Tucker can land another good deal for HSBC but the prospects seem limited given that six top football clubs in the Premier League all have signed sponsorship deals.

For example, Standard Chartered has renewed a deal with Liverpool until 2019. The shirt sponsorship agreements for the Premier League have become sought-after among multinational corporations in recent years.

By contrast, HSBC has little exposure to football, despite being a long-time sponsor of the Hong Kong Sevens.

For more than 150 years, HSBC has promoted its leaders from a small circle. Many of its senior management are from Scotland, including current chairman Douglas Flint.

Rugby is one of the most popular sports in Scotland but football is the No. 1 sport worldwide.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on March 15

Translation by Julie Zhu

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JZ/FC/RA

Mark Tucker has been leading Hong Kong-based AIA for a number of years and with the new appointment at HSBC, he will move back to his home country. Much of the bank’s profit is generated in Hong Kong and the rest of Asia. Photo: AIA


Hong Kong Economic Journal columnist

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