James Moore: New FD needs to help restore focus at L&G
Wednesday 02 September 2009
Outlook So congratulations on the new job, Dr Nigel Wilson. The finance chief at United Business Media is to take on the same role at a rather bigger beast: Legal & General. How long that beast can thrive in the wild, though, is open to question. It wasn't so long ago that L&G was a tiger – sleek, fit and dynamic. Under Sir David Prosser it made a habit of defying City expectations on the upside. His strategy was simple: focus the company on doing its job better than rivals and ignore the siren calls of investment bankers. It worked, too, and L&G significantly grew its market share at the expense of rivals who either fell by the wayside or concentrated on doing deals rather than serving their customers.
Since Sir David departed, however, the going has proved much tougher, and Legal's shares have been laggards in the life insurance sector. It is beginning to look less like a predator than it does prey. It could even prove to be a sitting duck for Clive Cowdery, who is busily trying to identify new targets having gobbled up Friends Provident. No one would have dared to take a tilt at L&G with Sir David at the helm. The one time a deal was in the offing (a takeover by NatWest), he negotiated such good terms for his shareholders that the whole thing collapsed, and NatWest was swallowed up by the much smaller Royal Bank of Scotland (and what a disaster that has proved to be).
It would be a shame if L&G were to fall like Friends. The company has done the right things as an institutional investor (focusing on corporate governance), and forced rival life insurers to pay attention to their games.
It is to be hoped that Dr Wilson can help the incumbent chief executive, Tim Breedon, to raise his game. Otherwise he might not be in a job for too long.
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
- 5 Narendra Modi: Indian Prime Minister wears suit with pinstripes that spell his name to meet Barack Obama
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Greece elections: Greek PM Alexis Tsipras takes aim at 'neo-liberal' Europe as country gears up for prolonged austerity battle
Pornhub star Mia Khalifa receives death threats after being ranked the site's top adult actress
Prince Philip set to be knighted by Australia: Celebrate by reading his greatest gaffes
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Leaked documents show Ukip leaders approve NHS privatisation once it becomes more 'acceptable to the electorate'
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...
£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...