António Simões, chief executive of HSBC UK, has credited being gay for helping him land the bank's top spot.

In 2013, Simões, 39, was named the country's most influential openly gay executive by the group OUTstanding in Business. More recently, Out at Work named him its top executive to make “a difference for LGBT people in business.”

In an interview with a newspaper in his home country of Portugal, Simões said that being gay had made him “a more authentic person, better to empathize, and with more emotional intelligence.”

“If I wasn't gay, probably I wouldn't be CEO of the bank,” the married banker said.

Simões, who ascended to CEO in 2012, added that gay people have a “personal duty at the professional level to come out of the closet.”

“If we want to live in a true meritocracy, the only thing that should matter is what you can do and not what you are.”