Prudential announces CEO's upcoming retirement

Group is searching for a successor that will be based in Asia

Prudential announces CEO's upcoming retirement

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Prudential plc has announced that its group CEO, Mike Wells (pictured above), plans to retire by the end of March. Wells has served as CEO since 2015.

With his retirement, Wells said he will not stand for re-election as director at the next annual general meeting.

Wells, who joined Prudential in 1995, oversaw two demergers and grew the company’s Asian shareholder base through an equity issuance on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. He led Prudential’s transformation into an Asia- and Africa-focused business, letting go of its UK and US operations.

Prudential has initiated the search for Wells’ permanent successor among internal and external candidates. Due to the business’ refocused nature, the next CEO will be based in Asia.

Mark FitzPatrick, currently group CFO and COO, will become interim group CEO upon Wells’ retirement. Fitzpatrick will assist the incoming group CEO in the transition process, before stepping down from the board and serve in an advisory role. FitzPatrick has asked the board not to consider him for the permanent group CEO role. FitzPatrick has been group CFO of Prudential since 2017, taking on the additional role of COO in 2019.

“I would like to thank Mike for his outstanding contribution to Prudential over the last 26 years, and particularly as CEO for the last seven years,” said Shriti Vadera, chair of Prudential. “He has led the group through one of the most significant periods of change in its 174-year history. He has overseen two strategic demergers and a successful equity raise on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, whilst steering the group through the unprecedented events of the pandemic. The board and I wish him every success in the future.”

Prudential also announced two appointments, effective end-March. James Turner, currently group chief risk and compliance officer, will become the group CFO, succeeding FitzPatrick. Turner joined Prudential in 2010, becoming director of group finance in 2015. He became group chief risk officer and joined the board in 2018.

Avnish Kalra, chief risk officer for the group’s Asian and African businesses since 2018, will succeed Turner as group chief risk and compliance officer and will join the group executive committee.

Turner and Kalra are both based in Hong Kong.

“It has been a privilege to serve Prudential for the last 26 years,” Wells said. “Having led the transformation of the group into an Asia- and Africa-focused life and health insurer, now is the right time for me to hand over to an Asian-based team to take the company forward. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with the staff and board of Prudential during my tenure.”

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