Pru ousts CEO Bloomer, woos Tucker back

London, March 24 | Updated: Mar 25 2005, 05:30am hrs
UK insurer Prudential finally ousted chief executive Jonathan Bloomer on Thursday after poaching its former Asia star Mark Tucker back from mortgage giant HBOS, in a move applauded by investors.

Britains second-largest life insurer had been under pressure to remove Bloomer since October, when a controversial 1.1 bn pound ($2.07 bn) rights issue to fund expansion in Britain triggered investor calls for his head.

A lot of the pressure at that time has died down, but it would be wrong to say it had entirely gone, chairman David Clementi told reporters on a conference call. Looking to the next period of the companys growth, we think that Mr Mark is the best person to take the business forward. Mr Tucker, finance director at British bank HBOS since last May, was a 17-year veteran of Prudential and had transformed the insurers Asian business into its crowning asset when he suddenly left in 2003, citing the need to find a new challenge. Investors and analysts said he had been frustrated at being unable to take over at the top and they welcomed his return. He is a proven entity, the architect of what is the growth strategy for Pru, said Fox-Pitt, Kelton analyst Johnny Vo Paul Mumford, a fund manager at Cavendish Asset Management, said Mr Tuckers wide knowledge was a major plus.

Reuters