Fidelity did not call for heads to roll at meeting, says Pru

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The Independent Online

Prudential yesterday appeared to have won the support of Fidelity for its embattled chairman Harvey McGrath and chief executive Tidjane Thiam.

The company took the unusual step of issuing a statement after holding a meeting with its number five investor, amid reports that the US fund manager had called for heads to roll.

A company spokesman said: "The meeting today between Fidelity and chairman Harvey McGrath had been a cordial, open and considered exchange of views. In particular, and contrary to recent widespread media speculation, no specific resignations were called for."

Fidelity yesterday declined to comment, but is understood to have been made aware of the statement. The fund manager can be a dangerous enemy and its star manager, Anthony Bolton, was instrumental in investors' successful blocking of the former Carlton Communications boss Michael Green from becoming chairman of the single ITV, created from his company's merger with Granada.

While Fidelity, which holds 2.52 per cent of the shares, appears to have been brought on side, the company is still facing a difficult few months in the wake of its mishandling of the failed attempt to take over the Asian insurer AIA and the perception among many investors that the company is arrogant and out of touch.

Mr McGrath has angered his critics by referring to them as "outliers" and he has recently become the focus of many investors' unhappiness, as opposed to Mr Thiam, who was at the head of the failed bid.