In The Spotlight: Time for former professional footballer to come off the sidelines?

Mark Tucker
  • @davidprosserind

When Mark Tucker revealed in March 2009 that he was quitting as Prudential's chief executive, he insisted he had "one more big job" in him. Could that job be a return to the Pru, where there is a crisis of confidence in Tidjane Thiam, Mr Tucker's successor?

Don't rule it out. Mr Tucker has rescued Pru once before, taking the chief executive's role in 2005 when Jonathan Bloomer was dumped by the insurer for presiding over a disastrous rights issue and dividend cut. And it's not just his four-year stint in charge at Pru that would make him ideal for a return should Mr Thiam prove unable to hang on – Mr Tucker had previously spent almost 20 years working in different roles at the insurer before quitting dramatically in 2003 following a disagreement with Mr Bloomer over strategy. That included a decade running Pru's Asian operation.

Mr Tucker seems to have the knack of being in the right place at the right time. His year away from Prudential saw him avoid its cash-call débâcle while he impressed the City in his new role as the finance director of Halifax Bank of Scotland. By the time HBOS had to be rescued by Lloyds at the height of the credit crunch in 2009, Mr Tucker was safely back at Pru.

Still, the business world might have missed out on his services altogether, for Mr Tucker pursued two careers in his youth. A schoolboy footballer with Barnet, he subsequently signed professionally for Wolves, before moving to play for Rochdale while studying for a business degree at Leeds University. He still plays for fun and also boasts an FA coaching badge – just the thing for coaxing Pru's bruised players back to form.