Shares fall

Wilson a ‘tough act to follow’ at Legal & General

Sir Nigel Wilson
Sir Nigel Wilson: retiring from executive life

Sir Nigel Wilson is stepping down from Legal & General Group after deciding that he would like to retire from executive life after over a decade as chief executive of the company.  

His departure disappointed investors who marked the shares down 5.30p (2.03%) at 255.5p after the announcement, making L&G one of the worst performers on the FTSE 100.

He joined Legal & General Group in 2009 as chief financial officer and was appointed CEO in 2012.

In that time the group has delivered a total shareholder return of over 600% driven by significant growth in dividends, earnings per share and ROE.

He pushed the group into the housing sector, including affordable housing, and led the acquisition of a minority state in Cala Homes in 2013, and full ownership five years later.

L&G which manages £1.3tn worth of assets for clients including workplace pension schemes, will now begin the search for a successor and will consider internal and external candidates. Sir Nigel has agreed to continue as chief executive until his replacement starts.

Sir Nigel, 66, grew up on a council estate in Newton Aycliffe, Co Durham. He is currently the 13th-longest serving FTSE 100 boss, having taken the helm in June 2012. His tenure of 10.7 years is just more than double the FTSE 100 average of 5.3 years. He was knighted last year.

He is said to have rejected an approach by Liz Truss last year to become minister for investment.

One former shareholder in L&G said Sir Nigel’s decision marked “the end of an era” for the group.

“He has big shoes to fill. The bears will say his successor will have to cut the dividend, but I doubt it, the chair wouldn’t allow it.” Analysts at Citi said he would be a “tough act to follow.”

Sir John Kingman said: “The board would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the outstanding contribution Nigel has made to Legal & General group for almost fourteen years.

“He is a world-class leader who has worked with great passion and energy, and we have been very fortunate to have had his vision, drive and commitment.”

Sir Nigel said: “Legal & General has been a big part of my life and my decision to retire from the group has been taken with mixed emotions.”

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