May 10, 2012 / 9:48 AM / 7 years ago

Insurer L&G names Wilson as new CEO

LONDON (Reuters) - British insurer Legal & General (LGEN.L) said finance chief Nigel Wilson would take over from outgoing Chief Executive Tim Breedon next month, confirming an appointment that had been widely expected in the industry.

Wilson, who joined L&G in 2009 and had been seen by analysts as Breedon’s most likely successor, becomes group chief executive designate immediately, and will take over formally on June 30, Britain’s fourth-biggest insurer said on Thursday.

Breedon, who has led L&G since 2006, will stay on until the end of the year to help the group lobby for changes to the European Union’s planned Solvency II capital regime for insurers.

L&G announced his departure in September.

Wilson, formerly finance chief at United Business Media, is credited with simplifying L&G and refocusing it on cash generation in response to investor gripes that life insurers were opaque and capital-hungry, a strategy that has since been adopted across the industry.

“We think that this is a great appointment for L&G given his impressive performance since becoming finance director,” Panmure Gordon analyst Barrie Cornes wrote in a note.

Wilson is the third consecutive L&G chief executive to be recruited from within. The company said his appointment followed “a thorough and exhaustive” recruitment process carried out with the help of an executive search firm.

Wadham Downing, L&G’s group financial controller, becomes interim chief financial officer pending a permanent appointment, the insurer added.

L&G shares were 1.4 percent higher by 0920 GMT, outperforming a 0.3 percent fall in the Stoxx 600 European insurance index .SXIP.

Reporting by Myles Neligan; Editing by Matt Scuffham and Helen Massy-Beresford

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