Insurer Prudential announced that setting up a new base for its top executives in Asia rather than London. This is because its Chief Executive Mike Wells is planning to retire next month. Prudential provides life and health insurance. They said that their current finance boss Mark Fitzpatrick will become interim CEO. He has requested not to be considered for the CEO position.
The company’s chief executive and financial officers would be based in Asia. And, that is a region that has increasingly been focussing for Prudential during Wells’ tenure. Prudential’s Asia headquarters are located in Hong Kong. JP Morgan analysts said that from their conversations with investors, it is clear that the lack of an Asia-based and focused management team has acted as a drag on the stock. And, that is particularly when comparing Prudential to key Asian peers. This is an opportunity for Prudential to hire a manager with local relationships and knowledge.
Over his seven-year tenure, Wells oversaw two strategic demergers. Prudential now focuses only on Asian and African markets. Hedge fund Third Point, run by billionaire Daniel Loeb, had asked the insurer to break up into two businesses in 2020 and recruit top talent in Asia. Prudential started life in London in 1848. Third Point had also called on Prudential to cut expensive London head office costs.
Prudential will retain a cost-effective presence in London to support their listing, capital markets and reporting requirements. The insurer is conducting a search internally and externally for the successor to Wells. James Turner, Prudential’s chief risk and compliance officer will become the CFO. Then, Avnish Kalra, chief risk officer for Prudential’s Asian and African businesses, will succeed Turner. Shares in the FTSE 100 group were up 0.6%.