Prudential picks former GE chief to head Asian operation

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The Independent Online

Prudential, Britain's second biggest insurer, finally filled one of its key posts yesterday, recruiting the former head of General Electric in Japan to head its own fast-growing Asian arm.

Mark Norbom, a former president of GE Japan, will become chief executive of Prudential in Asia on 1 January.

His basic salary will be nearly £500,000, although bonuses could more than double his total remuneration.

Mr Norbom replaces Mark Tucker, who quit at the end of June after an 18-year career with the insurer. Mr Tucker was the highest paid executive in the entire company in 2002, earning £1.4m.

Despite overseeing the dramatic expansion of Prudential's business in Asia, making it the second-biggest insurer in the region after AIG of the United States, Mr Tucker stepped down because there were no more senior posts for him to progress to.

The incumbent chief executive, Jonathan Bloomer, had made it clear he had no plans to leave for some time.

Prudential considered both internal and external candidates to replace Mr Tucker, opting for Mr Norbom because he has worked in a number of countries in Asia.

Mr Norbom, 45, will take over a business which makes up 40 per cent of Prudential's profits, up from just 14 per cent in 1998. The company has made it clear it sees its presence in the region as strategically key to its success in competing with rivals such as Aviva and Legal & General, which are more focused on Britain and Europe.

Mr Norbom, who has also built up the financial services arm of GE in Indonesia, Hong Kong and Thailand, said: "This role is a great fit with my experience in Asia and I look forward to continuing the growth of what is already an impressive set of businesses."

Mr Bloomer said of Mr Norbom's appointment: "He has a great track record including responsibility for a number of consumer and commercial finance businesses and, in his most recent post, country responsibility for a range of companies in Japan."

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