Two senior executives are to leave AIA, the Asian businesses of stricken US insurer AIG, just weeks after its US owner announced plans to sell the company to the UK’s Prudential for $35.5bn.
Mark Wilson, AIA chief executive, told Hong Kong staff on Wednesday that Steve Roder, chief financial officer, and Peter Cashin, chief legal counsel, intended to quit the company, people familiar with the matter said.
AIA declined to comment. Mr Roder and Mr Cashin could not be reached for comment.
The surprise resignations are the first public signs of unhappiness among senior AIA executives about the prospect of the agreed takeover by the Pru, its long-time foreign rival in the region, and about working with their counterparts.
AIA management lost out on a potentially lucrative ownership share of the business when its proposed initial public offering in Hong Kong was cancelled at the last minute in favour of a takeover by the UK life insurer.
“A few weeks ago, they were all guns blazing to the AIA stock market listing [in Hong Kong] and neither now want to work for the company. Draw your own conclusions,” said one person familiar with the matter.
The Pru is expected to overhaul AIA’s management once it has completed a deal and is likely to prefer many of its own Asian executives led by Barry Stowe. However, losing important staff before the deal has even been approved by shareholders could affect adversely the assets the Pru is buying.
Mr Wilson, Mr Roder and Mr Cashin are credited by dealmakers as playing crucial roles in soothing concerns among regulators across the region about AIA’s solvency.
The internal announcement about their resignations comes as Tidjane Thiam, Pru chief executive, is halfway through another tour of Asia to sell the merits of the deal to staff, regulators and investors.
Mr Thiam will have to convince senior AIA staff and its 300,000 tied agency force of the benefits of the takeover to achieve the synergies and sale targets that underpin his rationale for the transformational deal.
He also still has to convince some of the Pru’s existing investor base to back the deal.
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