MICHAEL MCLINTOCK was touted as a successor to Tidjane Thiam at the helm of Prudential yesterday, even as the embattled executive indicated he would not resign.
Thiam and his chairman, Harvey McGrath, are at the mercy of their main shareholders after their $35.5bn (£25bn) takeover of AIA was formally abandoned yesterday morning. Views among the largest investors are divided, with some calling for a period of calm and others demanding blood.
McLintock, who has won plaudits running Prudential’s fund management arm M&G, was put forward by several investors including Robin Geffen of Neptune Investment Management, who led a rebellion against the AIA purchase. Geffen said: “He’s the only other person on the board who has run a decent-sized company. Everybody recognises he’s done a great job at M&G.”
Rumours swept the City that McLintock and Mark Tucker, the former chief executive of Prudential, had been contacted by the insurer regarding the top job. Prudential denied it was in talks with any candidates and said there was no appetite for a change of management among its shareholders.
One stumbling block for McLintock would be salary. He earned £4.5m in pay, bonus and shares at M&G last year, far ahead of Thiam’s remuneration package at Prudential.
It is understood Thiam and McGrath will try to cling onto their positions by pointing out the strong performance of Prudential’s existing business. In the first quarter, sales were up 26 per cent to £807m with new business profits up 27 per cent to £427m.
One large investor said: “Clearly they’re in a difficult spot. They’ve not covered themselves in glory in the last few weeks but they did listen to shareholders in the end.”