Europe's biggest bank has told the Bank of England it wants approval for Flint, who currently runs the lender's retail and wealth management businesses, to take over from Stuart Gulliver, the paper said, citing unnamed sources.
HSBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Gulliver has said he plans to step down next year and the appointment of his replacement is the first major decision facing the bank's new chairman, Mark Tucker, who took up his post on Oct 1.
John Flint, no relation to outgoing chairman Douglas Flint, joined HSBC in 1989 and has worked in both the investment banking and retail banking sides of the bank, spending 14 years in Asia at the start of his HSBC career.
(Reporting by Rachel Armstrong and Anjuli Davies; Editing by Greg Mahlich)