David Eldon's remarks fuel speculation of Peter Wong's imminent appointment Peter Wong Tung-shun, the former Standard Chartered Bank chief executive for Greater China, is reliably understood to be in line to take a top job with the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp (HSBC). Neither HSBC nor Mr Wong was prepared to comment yesterday, but remarks made to the media in Beijing this week by HSBC Hong Kong chairman David Eldon fuelled speculation that an official confirmation of the appointment may be expected soon. Asked to comment on market talk that Mr Wong was due to take a job with HSBC, Mr Eldon told reporters covering a financial conference in Beijing that he respected Mr Wong's ability as a banker, adding that if he were to join HSBC, he would be 'welcome'. News of Mr Wong's shock departure from Standard Chartered was confirmed by that bank's group chief executive, Mervyn Davies, on November 15, although the resignation was tendered on November 8, one day before the bank announced the controversial sacking of 200 staff. Mr Wong's decision to resign was reported to be a protest against the mass sackings, but knowledgeable sources have told the South China Morning Post he had made discreet inquiries about alternative appointments before the redundancies. Some top slots are available in Hong Kong's banking industry at present. Sources say that among the prospects that Mr Wong had been invited to explore was a return to former employer Citibank, where country officer Catherine Weir had been elevated to a role of Greater China chief, leaving her Hong Kong post to be filled. Before he crossed over to Standard Chartered, Mr Wong was a director of sales, services and distribution channels for north Asia at Citibank. A senior management reshuffle has long been on the cards at HSBC, with the expected retirement as early as next year of Mr Eldon. The long-serving chairman, whose 35-year career with Hong Kong's largest lender has taken him to the top job in the city's banking sector, will be 60 years old next year. 'David [Eldon] had indicated a wish to retire, and this is now expected to happen next year,' a senior executive at a rival bank told the Post yesterday. The retirement of Mr Eldon could prompt his replacement as HSBC Hong Kong chairman by Vincent Cheng Hoi-chuen, the vice-chairman and chief executive of its 62.1 per cent-owned subsidiary, Hang Seng Bank, sources say. HSBC general manager Raymond Or has been expected to take Mr Cheng's post, which could leave the post of general manager at HSBC to be filled.