Prudential share price rebounds as group begins search for new CEO
Prudential’s (LON:PRU) shares have been trading higher today as the British insurer kicked off its search for a new chief executive officer. The company is meeting top shareholders to gauge their preferences for a successor to Tidjane Thiam, Reuters has reported.
On Tuesday, Thiam, who has led Prudential since 2009, unexpectedly announced that he was leaving the FTSE 100-listed group to become the new CEO of Swiss bank Credit Suisse AG. Prudential Chairman Paul Manduca said at the time of the announcement that the board had identified a successor from a range of internal and external candidates and expected to be able to name the new CEO once the regulatory approval process had been completed.
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Prudential has hinted that Thiam’s successor will be an internal appointment, with Mike Wells, the head of Jackson National Life Insurance, Prudential’s American operation, rumoured to be a front-runner. UK & Europe boss Jackie Hunt has also been tipped.
Given the company’s size, Thiam’s successor would also have to be approved by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) — a process likely to include an interview. A third fund manager among Prudential’s 30 largest shareholders said he was also meeting the company this week. “The fact that the individual does not already have PRA approval suggests the person is not working in a UK role at the moment,” he told Reuters, adding he expected the new CEO to be a promotion rather than an external hire.
Prudential’s share price has been trading higher so far today. By 15:24 GMT, the stock had gained 1.87 percent to 1,664.00p, recovering from Tuesday’s three percent slump. According to the FT, the 17 analysts projecting 12 month price targets for the FTSE 100-listed firm, have a median target of 1,775.00p, with a high estimate of 1,891.00p and a low of 1,380.00p. As of 7 March 2015, the consensus forecast amongst 22 polled investment analysts covering Prudential has it that the company will outperform the market.