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(Reuters) - Mark McCombe, the former head of HSBC's (HSBA.L) Hong Kong operations, has emerged as the external frontrunner for the top job at Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L), the Financial Times reported on Tuesday, citing three people close to the process.
McCombe is the chairman of fund manager BlackRock's Asia Pacific operations and has been with HSBC with an international career spanning 20 years.
RBS has been struggling to recruit a suitable replacement for ousted Chief Executive Stephen Hester, whose departure last month was engineered by Chairman Philip Hampton with the backing of Britain's finance ministry.
Hampton and Anna Mann's MWM headhunting firm are interviewing candidates and could name a new chief executive by August 2, along with the bank's second-quarter results, FT said. (link.reuters.com/nyc89t)
David Roberts, the deputy chairman of Lloyds and a former banker at Barclays Plc (BARC.L), is seen as a second credible external candidate for the post, the newspaper added.
External candidates touted by industry sources and analysts also include Richard Meddings, finance director at Standard Chartered Plc (STAN.L).
Internal options would include Finance Director Bruce Van Saun, and Nathan Bostock, currently head of restructuring and risk and a former Abbey National finance chief.
RBS declined to comment on the matter. McCombe could not be reached for comments via BlackRock outside regular business hours.
Reporting by Abhirup Roy in Bangalore; Editing by Lisa Shumaker