Sedgwick criticised after board reshuffle

The City reacted unfavourably to a top-management reshuffle by Sedgwick Group yesterday, saying the insurance broker should have brought in more new blood.

Sedgwick named Rob White-Cooper to succeed Saxon Riley as chief executive. Mr White-Cooper, currently vice-chairman, has been a director of Sedgwick since 1987.

Analysts said insurance brokers needed to change the way they approached business and Sedgwick should have used this appointment to get new people on board to aid in this process.

"It's a great pity that they haven't taken the opportunity to get someone from outside," said Robin Savage, an analyst at Credit Lyonnais Laing. "The real danger is that we end up with absolutely no change. The brokers have to change if they're going to make a future for themselves."

Insurance brokers have seen their pool of customers shrink as those purchasing insurance go direct to insurers to buy policies, cutting out the broker as middleman.

Lord Fanshawe, who will be 70 next March, will retire as chairman at Sedgwick's annual general meeting in April. He will be succeeded by Mr Riley, who has been chief executive since 1992 and a director of the company since 1985. Lord Fanshawe will remain on the board as a non-executive director.