An HSBC banker who sparked controversy by attacking climate change doom-mongering was accused by the bank of leaking information to the press, The Telegraph can reveal.
Stuart Kirk was able to resign from his high-profile job earlier this month without seeing out his six-month notice period owing to a row over whether he told reporters that HSBC approved his controversial presentation, sources said.
He is understood to have denied the bank’s accusations, but insiders said the breach of trust dispute meant he could quit immediately “without contract.”
Britain’s biggest bank put him on paid leave in May after he hit out at climate “nut jobs” during a City event and asked “who cares if Miami is six meters underwater in 100 years?”.
In a slide accompanying his speech at the conference, he wrote that “unsubstantiated, shrill, partisan, self-serving, apocalyptic warnings are ALWAYS wrong”.
Mr Kirk’s comments surprised many in the finance sector who deemed them to be out of step with an industry that is increasingly keen to burnish its green credentials.
He then decided to quit his role as global head of responsible investing at HSBC Asset Management earlier this month in protest at “cancel culture” and “virtue signalling”.
“I will continue to prod with a sharp stick the nonsense, hypocrisy, sloppy logic and group-think inside the mainstream bubble of sustainable finance,” he insisted, adding that “most of what’s out there is bonkers,” he wrote in a LinkedIn post.
Mr Kirk, who has added on his LinkedIn biography that he “actually loves Miami”, is now working on a new project which he has so far kept under wraps.
He wrote in his resignation announcement last month that he has gathered a “crack group of like-minded individuals together to deliver what is arguably the greatest sustainable investment idea ever conceived”.
HSBC declined to comment.