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Renowned City veteran Sir Mervyn Pedelty dies

Sir Mervyn Pedelty, chairman of Friends Provident and a former chief executive of the Co-op’s financial arm, has died at the age of 61.

After a long career in financial services, he passed away on Tuesday, after a long illness, just 10 days after his birthday.

The former TSB executive was also an independent director of insurers Hiscox and Resolution and a senior adviser to private equity group Permira. Passionate about his charity work, Pedelty was a director of Business in the Community, an ambassador for the World Wide Fund for Nature, and a trustee of the Symphony Hall in Birmingham and the mental health charity Triumph over Phobia. He also chaired the Policy Committee for the FTSE social responsibility indices since its foundation.

Pedelty was knighted in 2004 for services to business and charity. The knighthood came after he retired unexpectedly from the Co-op, where he ran the Co-op Bank and the insurance arm, with a payoff of nearly £1m, mid-way through a big reorganisation of the business. Under his stewardship the Co-operative Bank, known for its ethical approach to business, won several awards for its products.

Following his retirement, the chartered accountant and chartered banker took on several non-executive directorships including Hiscox and Friends Provident. He joined Hiscox in 2005 where he chaired the remuneration and nomination committee. Last November he was also appointed to the board of Resolution and became chairman of Friends Provident following its takeover by Resolution.

Resolution said Pedelty had a distinguished career in the financial services sector, most notably as the Co-operative Bank’s chief executive from 1997 to 2004. Resolution chairman Mike Biggs described him as a “man of considerable talents and his contribution will be greatly missed”. Friends Provident chief executive Trevor Matthews added: “Sir Mervyn was a very effective director of Friends Provident and a delightful man to work with. We will all miss him.”

Robert Hiscox, chairman of the eponymous, Bermuda-based firm, said Pedelty’s advice had been “invaluable”.

Pedelty also served as a director of the Association of British Insurers and as a council member of the British Bankers’ Association. Other past roles included chair of Sustainability North West and member of the Department for Work & Pensions’ Employer Task Force on Pensions.

Pedelty loved jazz and was an accomplished jazz pianist. He was born in Hull.