Lloyds finance boss jumps ship to Friends Life

Tim Tookey has decided to quit the part-nationalised British bank to join insurer Friends Life, the companies said, continuing a series of high-profile management departures in the wake of the arrival of new Lloyds' chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio earlier this year.

Lloyds said Tookey would remain with the company until the end of February next year, and added that the company had already begun looking for his successor.

Friends Life, which is a division of British insurance vehicle Resolution, said hiring Tookey would help them in their ongoing plans to return cash to investors.

Tookey already has experience of working in the insurance industry, having been a finance director at British insurer Prudential (PRU.L) before joining Lloyds in 2006.

His departure follows that of former Lloyds retail banking head Helen Weir and insurance head Archie Kane, following Horta-Osorio's arrival at the helm of Lloyds.

"Tim's extensive FTSE leadership experience makes him an excellent addition to the team. He will play an important role in building a profitable new business franchise and preparing the business to position it strongly for the full range of potential Resolution exit options," Friends Life Chief Executive Andy Briggs said in a statement.

Resolution was set up a few years ago by entrepreneur Clive Cowdery to acquire and restructure struggling life insurance companies, and in August it said that its half-year profit had more than doubled to £390m.

The British government has a stake of roughly 41 percent in Lloyds and holds 83 per cent of rival Royal Bank of Scotland after it had to bail out both banks with taxpayers' money during the credit crisis.

European regulators have ordered both banks to sell off assets as payback for their state bail-outs, and Lloyds is currently in the process of looking to sell some 630 retail bank branches.