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Prudential shuffles leadership amid departure of CEO Mike Wells

10th February 2022 - Author: Luke Gallin

Global life insurer Prudential plc has announced that Mike Wells, who became Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in 2015, is to leave the company at the end of March 2022 and will not stand for re-election as a Director at the firm’s next AGM.

mike-wells-prudentialWells first joined the insurer in 1995 and intends to depart after leading it through its transformation into an Asian and African focused business. During his tenure, he executed two strategic demergers and accelerated the development of an Asian shareholder base through a successful equity issuance on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

With Prudential now refocused on Asia and Africa, the life insurer’s Board is looking for its new CEO to be based in Asia and is exploring both external and internal candidates.

In the interim, Mark FitzPatrick, currently Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO), will serve as CEO when Wells steps down from the position. Although, FitzPatrick has asked the Board not to consider him for the permanent role.

Prudential states that in addition to leading the Group, Wells will assist the incoming Group CEO in completing the transition process and will then leave the Board but remain available to the company as an adviser for a period.

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Today, the firm has also confirmed that Nic Nicandrou, CEO Asia and Africa, remains responsible for leading all of its life insurance business and asset management businesses across Asia and Africa.

Additionally, the Board of Prudential has announced two further appointments, effective end of March 2022. This includes the promotion of James Turner, Group Chief Risk & Compliance Officer, to succeed FitzPatrick as Group CFO.

At the same time, Avnish Kalra, Chief Risk Officer for the Group’s Asian and African businesses, will take over from Turner as Group Chief Risk & Compliance Officer and will join the Group Executive Committee. Both Turner and Kalra will remain in Hong Kong.

Shriti Vadera, Chair of Prudential, commented: “I would like to thank Mike for his outstanding contribution to Prudential over the last 26 years, and particularly as CEO for the last seven years. He has led the Group through one of the most significant periods of change in its 174-year history. He has overseen two strategic demergers and a successful equity raise on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, whilst steering the Group through the unprecedented events of the pandemic. The Board and I wish him every success in the future.

“Given Prudential’s focus on the growth markets of Asia and Africa, the Board has decided with this managed transition of the leadership structure, that the roles of the Group CEO and the Group CFO will be based in Asia, where Prudential’s largest businesses, the Group regulator and the rest of the senior management team are located. With the strategic positioning of the Group complete, it can now take the next steps in the simplification of its management and operational model. We have a depth of talent and experience in the executive team under whose leadership the Group will continue to deliver on its strategy.”

Wells said: “It has been a privilege to serve Prudential for the last 26 years. Having led the transformation of the Group into an Asia and Africa focused life and health insurer, now is the right time for me to hand over to an Asian based team to take the company forward. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with the staff and Board of Prudential during my tenure.

“I look forward to presenting the Group’s 2021 Results on 9 March 2022 and to meeting our shareholders in the weeks that follow to update them on the progress made in the delivery on our strategy. As I said last year, we are confident that the demand for our products will continue to grow in line with the structural growth in our chosen markets, and that we are well placed to meet this demand. Prudential has an enviable brand, great products, a compelling multi-channel distribution model and talented people. I look forward to watching the further success of the Group’s development.”

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