The group, which is searching for a successor to Scots-born chairman Douglas Flint, said Nish will become an independent non-executive director on 1 May. He will be paid a director’s fee of £95,000 a year.
Nish joined Edinburgh-based Standard Life as group finance director in 2006, having previously been finance chief at ScottishPower, and was promoted to chief executive of the life and pensions firm in 2010. He stepped down in August last year, handing over the reins to Keith Skeoch.
Flint said: “David brings considerable relevant experience in financial services as well as in financial accounting and reporting.
“His tenure at Standard Life was marked by business transformation delivering value creation, a combination which HSBC is similarly targeting from its current strategy. David also has a wide-ranging understanding of all aspects of corporate governance which will further enhance the contribution he can make to the board. We very much look forward to him joining us.”
Nish is currently a non-executive director at the Edinburgh-based Green Investment Bank, London Stock Exchange Group and Vodafone. He is also set to join the board of Zurich Insurance Group.
HSBC last week said that it would next year nominate a candidate to replace Flint at its helm.
Flint, who became chairman of the bank in December 2010, said in a letter to shareholders: “The board aims to nominate my successor during 2017 but the exact timing is clearly dependent upon identifying and securing the appropriate candidate.”
HSBC, which employs some 3,700 in Scotland, mainly at two call centres in Edinburgh and Hamilton, has previously said that, in a break with tradition, its next chairman will be an external candidate, possibly a non-executive director already on the lender’s board.
Investors turned the spotlight on succession plans after the bank confirmed earlier this year it would retain its global head office in Britain following a ten-month review that had triggered speculation it might move its domicile to Hong Kong, Singapore or New York.
HSBC had said that one of the reasons for the review was the increasingly high regulatory cost of doing Britain in business. Flint originally joined the bank, which has significant businesses in emerging markets, in 1995, before being appointed group finance director in December 1995.