Pru shareholders bicker over who should resign

INSTITUTIONAL investors are bickering over which Prudential head they want on a plate as shareholder anger grows after the group’s botched $35.5bn (£25bn) bid to buy AIA.

There is some momentum behind a move to oust Prudential chief executive Tidjane Thiam, but some large shareholders said chairman Harvey McGrath’s position is even harder to defend than his CEO’s.

“If someone has to go, it should be the chairman and not the chief executive,” said one top-20 investor, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Thiam and McGrath have begun meetings with top shareholders as they seek to pacify investors enraged over the “bungled” handling of the deal to acquire AIG’s Asian arm.

Another large shareholder who will meet Thiam this week said: “If investors want someone’s head on a plate, it should be the chairman’s. For him to agree for his chief executive to take a job at Société Générale at the beginning of this whole exercise was just crass judgement.”

But other large investors still say the buck stops at Thiam’s door.

“Subject to what we hear this week, Thiam’s position is getting increasingly untenable,” said another.