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Ex-Goldman banker Thornton steps down from HSBC board

The HSBC building is seen on Canary Wharf in London May 11, 2011. REUTERS/Olivia Harris
The HSBC building is seen on Canary Wharf in London May 11, 2011. REUTERS/Olivia Harris

LONDON (Reuters) - John Thornton, the former Goldman Sachs president who specializes in Chinese affairs, is stepping down from the board of HSBC to spend more time on his other business interests, Europe's biggest bank said on Monday.

Thornton, who heads HSBC's remuneration committee, will not seek re-election to the bank's board at its annual shareholder meeting on Friday in view of "recent expanded responsibilities within his other business interests," HSBC said.

He will resign as chairman of HSBC North America on the same day.

Thornton joined the HSBC board in December 2008 and has been head of its remuneration committee since May 2010.

Thornton is also co-chairman of Barrick Gold , where last month a group of Canada's top pension funds rallied against the miner's $11.9 million signing bonus for him.

During a 23-year career with Goldman Sachs, Thornton helped build up its mergers and acquisition business in London and drive its international expansion and was chairman of its operations in Asia. He left in 2003.

He is professor and director of the global leadership program at the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in Beijing and holds several other senior positions on Chinese affairs. He is on the boards of major firms including Ford Motor Co. and China Unicom <0762.HK>.

(Reporting by Steve Slater; editing by Patrick Graham)

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