Legal and General (L&G) has appointed Santander’s António Simões to be chief executive, who will succeed the departing Sir Nigel Wilson next year.
Simões has been Santander’s European regional head since 2020, leading the bank’s operations across the UK, Spain and Portugal. Before that Simões had been at HSBC for 13 years, where he had been chief executive of its UK and Europe business.
He will take up the post at the beginning of next year with Wilson remaining in post in the meantime to deliver a “comprehensive handover and a smooth transition”.
Chair of L&G Sir John Kingman said: “António brings a formidable leadership track record at the most senior level of financial services, working across complex, global organisations.
“In an excellent field, his energy, ambition and clarity of strategic thinking stood out, alongside his strong belief in the positive role that business should play in society,” Kingman continued.
Simões said “This is a critical time for our industry, clients and customers, with emerging technologies, changing societal dynamics and wider economic forces presenting new challenges and opportunities that require all of us to adapt and evolve.”
“The new boss at Legal & General has a hard act to follow,” AJ Bell’s Russ Mould investment director said. “Since Nigel Wilson was appointed to the top job in June 2012, Legal & General shares have outperformed its life insurance peers, Aviva and Prudential, to chalk up a total return of more than 200 per cent.
“Wilson didn’t necessarily make a big splash but was busy in the background, turning Legal & General into a more focused and efficient business,” he said.
Simões will receive a salary of £1.2m in the role with his first pay review will taking place in 2025. Each year, depending on performance, he will be eligible for an annual bonus up to a potential £2.4m and long-term incentive share awards worth up to £3.5m.