Beleaguered Prudential chief snubs Goldman conference

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The Independent Online

Tidjane Thiam, chief executive of Prudential, further angered investors when he pulled out of a Goldman Sachs financial institutions conference last week.

Mr Thiam, who is facing calls for his removal by shareholders angry at Pru's failure to buy AIG's insurance business, decided against participating at the high-profile Madrid conference at the 11th hour.

He was scheduled to share the stage with Legal & General chief executive, Tim Breedon, and Aviva's UK chief, Mark Hodges. He gave no explanation for his absence.

"His no-show reinforces the whiff of arrogance that has hung around since this whole AIA debacle began," said one attendee. "Surely Pru could have got a replacement to attend. It should be on the front foot."

Shareholders will this week have further meetings with the chairman, Harvey McGrath, and senior independent director, James Ross, about Mr Thiam's future. Many believe an orderly exit is preferable to his sudden removal.

It's thought that a number of leading investors will instead call for a board reshuffle, with a number of non-executives facing the axe. Investors are urging Pru to "bring in a board heavyweight". "There's no doubt the board is horribly light," said a source.