Pru confirms top job for Derek Higgs

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The Prudential confirmed yesterday the appointment of Derek Higgs, the senior Warburg corporate financier, to run Britain's most powerful investment institution, writes John Eisenhammer.

He expects to take up on 19 February the position of chief executive of Prudential Portfolio Managers, in charge of pounds 76bn of funds under management. Much of this is invested in the UK, putting Mr Higgs in charge of nearly 4 per cent of the stock market, a position of unrivalled influence in corporate Britain.

The move marks a radical departure for the old-guard Warburg grandee, who spent 24 years at the former City merchant banking flagship. But he is among several who have been sidelined since the takeover by Swiss Bank Corporation. "I am looking forward to the new start. The time is now right to do something different and give the youngsters their head at SBC Warburg," Mr Higgs said.

"I shall not be leading the day-to-day handling of the investment management team. That distracts from thinking about strategy and the direction of the Pru," he said. "It won't be completely different. My corporate finance background should be helpful."

"I don't leave Warburg with unhappiness or disaffection. It has a great future, although there is still work to do."