“With the company in excellent shape I feel that next year will be the right time to retire from the company. By giving notice of this now, the board will have ample time to plan and ensure an orderly succession,” Breedon said yesterday.
Analysts have tipped L&G’s incumbent finance director Nigel Wilson as Breedon’s likely successor.
Wilson has stepped forward on several investor presentations since joining the company two years ago, and Legal & General has often promoted from within when filling its top spots in the past.
“There is a culture at Legal & General of keeping it in-house,” said Berenberg Bank analyst Trevor Moss.
Breedon joined the board of L&G in 2002, having started at the company in 1987 and worked predominantly as an index fund specialist – working his way up through management before taking the top spot in 2006.
He is credited with steering the 175-year old insurer through the financial crisis and for preparing it for the EU’s Solvency II capital regime, though he will leave the company before the rules come into force in January 2013.
Last month, L&G raised its shareholder payout by a quarter after strong growth at its fund management and savings divisions helped it beat first-half profit forecasts.
Breedon earned a total of £1.86m in 2010, according to the company’s annual report, including a £785,000 salary.
Last year he succeeded Lloyds executive Archie Kane as chairman of industry body the Association of British Insurers, a role a spokesman said yesterday would not be affected by his upcoming departure from L&G.
Shares in Legal & General closed 4.44 per cent down yesterday at 91.40p, valuing the company at around £5.6bn.