Prudential U.K.'s Hunt in Surprise Departure After Two Years

Updated on
  • Investment director John Foley to assume responsibilities
  • Exit comes amid reports of personality clash with CEO

Prudential Plc Headquarters

Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Prudential Plc’s Jackie Hunt has resigned as chief executive officer of the insurer’s U.K. and European division after two years in the job amid reports she clashed with her new boss Mike Wells.

Hunt, who joined the insurer from Standard Life Plc in September 2013, departs with immediate effect, the company said Wednesday without elaborating. Group investment director John Foley will assume her responsibilities until a replacement has been found.

“This is a shock move,” Barrie Cornes, an analyst at Panmure Gordon & Co. in London wrote in a note to clients. “We suspect that she has been replaced following a clash of personalities with Mike.” A spokesman for Prudential declined to comment.

Her sudden resignation comes after Wells was named Group CEO in June following Tidjane Thiam’s move to Credit Suisse Group AG. Cornes said Hunt could have been a contender for group CEO after previously working with Thiam at Aviva Plc.

During her time with Prudential she helped navigate a U.K. government overhaul of the pensions system that at the time erased 3.6 billion pounds ($5.6 billion) off the industry’s market value. Chairman Paul Manduca said in a statement that Hunt been “an important asset” and had left the business in good shape.

Prudential, the U.K.’s largest insurer by market value, is due to report third quarter results on Nov. 10. The shares closed 0.7 percent lower at 1,499.5 pence in London, trimming gains this year to 0.5 percent.

(Updates to include analyst comment in third paragraph.)
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