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Resolution Chairman Biggs to Step Down After Governance Changes

By Kevin Crowley

Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Resolution Ltd., the insurance buyout firm founded by Clive Cowdery in 2008, said Chairman Mike Biggs will step down once the company has completed changes to its governance structure.

Biggs, who is also chairman of Direct Line Group Plc, which completed an initial public offering last week, will hand over the role once Resolution has merged its board with Friends Life Group Plc, its insurance unit, Guernsey, Channel Islands-based Resolution said today in a statement. The changes will probably be implemented by mid-February, the statement said.

Resolution, which outsources its management to a company called Resolution Operations also run by Cowdery, is simplifying its governance after the Financial Services Authority warned that so-called externally managed companies may be forced to give up their listing on the stock market. The original structure was set up to allow the company to make acquisitions without needing advice from investment banks, while allowing its founders to earn private-equity-style returns.

“Mike considers the governance changes create a natural point at which to appoint a new chairman and this will also enable him to focus on his other non-executive commitments,” Resolution said in the statement.

Phil Hodkinson, Resolution’s senior independent non-executive director, is leading the search for a new chairman and additional non-executive director, the statement said.

Resolution bought Friends Provident, Bupa Health Assurance Ltd. and Axa SA’s U.K. life insurance unit after it was founded in December 2008, and is merging them under the Friends Life brand. The stock has fallen 42 percent since the company was formed after the stock market rally in 2009 made it more difficult to buy insurers and record low interest rates squeezed investment returns.

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