Prosser to stay on at L&G for extra two years

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The Independent Online

David Prosser, the soft-spoken Welshman credited with turning Legal & General into one of Europe's lowest-cost savings and pensions providers, is to stay on for an extra two years. Mr Prosser, 56, has been chief executive since 1991 and had been due to step down in 2004.

David Prosser, the soft-spoken Welshman credited with turning Legal & General into one of Europe's lowest-cost savings and pensions providers, is to stay on for an extra two years. Mr Prosser, 56, has been chief executive since 1991 and had been due to step down in 2004.

However, Tony Hobson, the finance director, is to retire after 13 years. His departure makes way for Andrew Palmer, group corporate director, 47, who will take on his role. The move is part of a shake-up announced yesterday, which will see promotions for a younger tier of management inclding Robin Phipps, currently head of retail; Kate Avery, retail customer director; and Gareth Hoskin, currently retail marketing director.

Explaining the decision to ask Mr Prosser stay on at the time of a management shake-up, Rob Margett, the chairman, said: "Over the next five years, stakeholder pensions will provide Legal & General with an enormously exciting opportunity for growth. The board is keen to have consistency of leadership throughout this important period."

Mr Prosser said: "I thought that having embarked on this strategy, I needed to see the endgame. I see that as being three to five years out."

Analysts said the moves emphasised continuity at the helm of one of Britain's more successful financial services companies at a time of immense change. L&G shares rose 4.5p to 172.5p.

One colleague said yesterday: "He tends to be ahead of the game in financial services. His reputation is good and he has made some good calls."

The City has been observing events at L&G with interest ever since the collapse of its attempted merger with National Westminster Bank last year. The deal was called off after Bank of Scotland launched a hostile bid, sparking a train of events which led to NatWest's eventual takeover by Royal Bank of Scotland last March.

Mr Prosser has insisted that the group does not need to do a deal and has plenty of scope for more organic growth.

A number of Continental European insurers have cast their eye over the business but have balked at the price, given L&G's high rating.

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