HSBC UK boss says business leaders have a ‘huge personal responsibility’ to come out

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The head of UK banking at HSBC has criticised business leaders who stay in the closet, saying it’s not acceptable they “take for granted” the work being done by others on issues of equality.

Speaking at the third-annual ‘Out on the Street’ LGBT summit in London, Antonio Simoes, who revealed he was gay last year, said business leaders have a “huge personal responsibility” to come out.

“We’re in London, we’re in 2014,” he said. “It’s not acceptable that we take for granted all the work done by others on issues such as marriage equality.”

At the conference, Simoes also described himself as “the short, bald, Portuguese gay guy”, adding that being “authentic” makes him a “more empathetic and better leader.”

The event is currently taking place at the London offices of Deutsche Bank, and is hosted by the bank’s CEO Colin Grassie.

It brings together LGBT business leaders and allies in one of the biggest diversity events of its kind.

Speakers at the event include Antonio Simoes, the UK CEO of HSBC, Irene Dorner, the former President of HSBC USA, Netherlands Human Rights Ambassador Kees van Baar, and Conservative peer Baroness Noakes.

Last year, Simoes made it to the top of the Business Top 50 list, and was followed by Beth Brook of consultancy EY, and then Paul Reed of BP Integrated Supply and Trading.