BAT boost for financial services firms

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The Independent Online
BAT INDUSTRIES is gearing up for the strategic development of its UK financial services businesses by promoting George Greener to chief executive of the division, with responsibility for Eagle Star and Allied Dunbar, writes Paul Durman.

BAT is considering linking up, possibly by acquisition, with building societies and other sources of 'warm leads' for its insurance salesmen. Mr Greener said his new role would make it easier for BAT to consider the impact of possible deals on its UK insurance companies.

'There has not really been a great deal of togetherness or co-operation,' he said. 'It's high time we started to look at the possibilities.'

Mr Greener, 47, ran Mars UK's confectionery business until he was headhunted to become chief executive of Allied Dunbar in September 1991. Last year he was paid more than pounds 660,000 - even more than BAT paid Martin Broughton, who recently became group chief executive.

BAT said Mr Greener's promotion would allow Mr Broughton to devote more time to the group's tobacco activities: it is embroiled in a US price war and is expecting the Clinton administration to quadruple cigarette tax.

Mr Greener also becomes chairman of Eagle Star Holdings. Clive Coates, Eagle Star's finance director, becomes deputy chairman and Sandy Leitch steps up from managing director of Allied Dunbar to replace Mr Greener as chief executive.

Combining the investment management arms of Eagle Star and Allied Dunbar, which between them manage pounds 23bn, is one possibility, but BAT is expected to be cautious.

BAT intends to maintain the separate identities of Eagle Star and Allied Dunbar, which together have a 6 per cent share of both the life and general insurance markets.