So who is going to take up the reins at Hang Seng Bank? This is the question which HSBC Holdings has been wrestling with since the vice-chairman and chief executive of Hang Seng Bank, Alexander Au Siu-kee, delivered his surprise resignation notice last Tuesday. The speculation which has had Hong Kong's banking circles buzzing is likely to be silenced this week when HSBC releases the name of the new man. For HSBC the appointment cannot come a minute too soon. Mr Au's departure clearly caught the bank off guard and the subsequent delay in announcing a replacement has dented the bank's reputation for meticulously managing executive handovers. Reflecting the difficulties which the bank is having, no one candidate has emerged as the favourite from among the welter of speculation. A well plugged in source last night put his money firmly on Hongkong Bank's executive director Vincent Cheng Hoi-chuen. He went so far as to say that a decision had been made and that Mr Cheng was the man. However, Hongkong Bank chief executive David Eldon, who is also the non-executive chairman of Hang Seng Bank, on Saturday denied a decision had been made. 'There are several candidates being considered. We will make a decision soon,' he said. While it was also easy to find those who sing Mr Cheng's praises, they at the same time add that he lacks sufficient experience in retail banking to move into Mr Au's shoes. Mr Cheng was the first local Chinese to be appointed to Hongkong Bank's board. Trained as an economist, he was a member of the Executive Council and a member of the Central Policy Unit before the handover. Attempting to dampen persistent speculation of a falling out with Mr Au, Mr Eldon said: 'We [Mr Au and Mr Eldon] have good relations. As Mr Au indicated, his new job has been discussed for nearly a year, that is before I was appointed as the non-executive chairman of Hang Seng Bank at the end of last year.' He added that Mr Au's departure would not alter Hang Seng Bank's business strategy. 'The new business strategy of Hang Seng Bank in recent years has made the bank more noticeable in the market. It will be business as usual at Hang Seng. 'I will continue to play the role as a non-executive chairman of Hang Seng Bank, and will leave the new chief executive to run the bank's daily operation.' No one will be watching closer than Mr Au who left the bank for the last time on Saturday with his heart set on a new start in London. There is no keeping Rupert Murdoch down. His sprawling empire expanded further late last week with the announcement that he had won approval to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team. At first glance, this may look like another interesting diversification move in sport. However, this only partly explains the deal. The purchase is more about helping to fill the time on his sports television station in the United States which is presently clogged with reruns and highlights of events long over. With the Dodgers, Mr Murdoch strengthens his expanding Fox Sports Net regional television network, comprising 21 regional sports TV channels that reach about 58 million US households. He tried a similar move in Australia several years ago when he moved in to take a stranglehold on rugby league by buying the teams and showing the games through his international television interests. This proved a more troublesome exercise than Friday's purchase of the Dodgers and it is still bogged down in legal problems. However, the Dodgers deal was not without its own problems. Principal among these was Rupert's arch rival, Ted Turner who, in typical form launched a broadside against his nemesis saying the deal would inflate players' wages and give the media magnate a monopoly on TV baseball deals. There was perhaps a degree of self interest in these comments as Ted owns the Atlanta Braves. Whatever Ted had to say, the market loved the Dodgers deal seeing it as Rupert putting another small but significant piece into place within his global television empire. News Corp shares raced to a record on Friday, ending A$10.71 (about HK$55.09), up 2.5 per cent on the day in solid trade of 4.1 million shares.