The pressure on Prudential chief Tidjane Thiam to quit in the wake of the insurer’s failed bid for Asian rival AIA has eased, with big investors refusing to put their weight behind an attempt to remove him.
Both Thiam and Pru chairman Harvey McGrath faced calls to step down after the insurer’s $35.5bn bid for AIG’s Asian arm hit the rocks in early June, leaving the company to pay out £450m in fees.
Some smaller shareholders have campaigned for Thiam or McGrath to go, but the firm’s biggest investors have not so far taken the bait.
One of the insurer’s top investors told reporters: “I do not think there is any catalyst for (the debate) carrying on because there isn’t an annual general meeting to vote on management for another 10 months.”
“I think it has died down,” the shareholder said. Asked whether he felt the CEO and chairman would be allowed to stay on, the shareholder said: “I think so.”
A second large shareholder said it had taken no action against the senior executives.
A third investor, familiar with moves to remove either Thiam or McGrath, said that while some shareholders would still like a head to roll, they do not have enough support from more influential Pru owners.
“The very largest shareholders are reluctant to participate in anything that would initiate that…(it’s) sort of stuck,” the investor said.
Other large investors declined to comment.
Speculation on possible candidates to replace McGrath has included former city minister Paul Myners.
Shares in Prudential, which is issuing its first-half results on August 12, fell by as much as 20 percent immediately after it announced the deal in early March.
The stock rallied following the failed takeover, but is still down around seven percent compared with the pre-deal price of 602p per share.
Prudential declined to comment.