HSBC stuck to time-honoured tradition after it confirmed that group chief executive Stephen Green will succeed Sir John Bond, its highly regarded veteran chairman, when he retires next year.
HSBC secured the support of major shareholders before announcing the appointment of Mr Green - aged 57 - as promotion from the position of chief executive goes against UK corporate governance recommendations.
The head of HSBC's UK bank, Michael Geoghegan, aged 52, will replace Mr Green as chief executive, creating a new double act of executives at the helm of the world's thirdlargest bank by market value.
Mr Green's appointment runs counter to the UK's code of corporate governance, which recommends against CEOs becoming chairman, but HSBC stressed that institutional investors had been consulted.
When companies break the code, they are obliged to explain it to shareholders.
Sir John, aged 64, is credited with establishing HSBC as a global powerhouse. He will retire from the bank at next year's annual shareholder meeting on May 26 after 45 years with the group.
HSBC has never in its 140-year history hired someone from outside to lead it, and Sir Bond, like Mr Green, had also been chief executive before he became chairman.
"We considered carefully the requirements of the position in terms of HSBC's size, geographical spread and complexity. We recognised the need for full-time executive commitment and experience of international banking at the highest level," Brian Moffat, HSBC's deputy chairman, said in a letter to investors.
Sir John, who joined the bank when he was 20, is widely viewed by investors and analysts as a hard act to follow, having shaken up HSBC's cautious lending approach with a slew of acquisitions.
Mr Green, who used to head HSBC's investment banking arm and has been chief executive since 2003, is seen as a less polished player than Sir John, but his analytical, mild- mannered style is expected to work well with Mr Geoghegan, who has wasted no time in ordering thousands of job cuts and new sales targets since becoming head of the UK retail bank in 2004.
" Overall, I think the appointments are positive. Green's succession is not a great surprise. The appointment of Geoghegan as chief executive is the more interesting partly because he is the pushier character of the two," said Richard Staite of SG Securities.
"I would see Green as a solid, very bright individual. He is, I think, a fairly safe pair of hands. I think hopefully the combination of Geoghegan and Green will be a complementary pairing."
The chairman's job at HSBC is to set strategy and act as the company power broker, cultivating relationships with key individuals, both political and corporate, around the globe.
The chief executive concentrates on the operational side of the business.
The UK's corporategovernance code, revised in 2003, recommends against the promotion of chief executives to the chair in order to guarantee the post's independence.
HSBC rival Barclays came under investor pressure to explain publicly why it appointed its former chief executive as chairman.