John Tiner

A former head of the UK financial regulator is in the running to chair Towergate as the insurance broker’s new owners turn to City heavyweights to help it recover from a cash crisis.

John Tiner, ex-chief executive of the Financial Services Authority, has emerged as a leading candidate to lead the board of Towergate, among Britain’s biggest private companies before its fall from grace.

No agreement had yet been reached on his appointment and other individuals were also in the frame, said people with knowledge of the matter. Towergate declined to comment. Mr Tiner could not be reached for comment.

Towergate is looking for a replacement for Alastair Lyons, the incumbent chairman, after the insurance broker came close to running out of cash and reached a bruising refinancing deal with bondholders.

Mr Lyons is also departing as chairman of Serco, the outsourcing group, following a series of profit warnings.

His potential successor Mr Tiner ran the now defunct FSA in the run-up to the financial crisis. A damning parliamentary report into the collapse of the bank HBOS criticised the regulator he ran between 2003 and 2007.

However, the regulatory experience of Mr Tiner would be valued by Towergate. The Financial Conduct Authority is examining allegations of mis-selling at its financial advice arm. The company has previously indicated it may have to pay as much as £85m in compensation to customers.

His possible appointment at Towergate comes as Mr Tiner prepares for a multimillion payout resulting from his interest in Resolution, the FTSE 100 insurance consolidation vehicle where he was a leading executive.

He holds a “value share” in the business, which has since been renamed Friends Life and has agreed to be taken over by Aviva.

The former managing partner at Arthur Andersen is also a non-executive director at Credit Suisse, where his term on the board expires in April.

It would be the latest big name appointment for Towergate, whose new owners this month poached David Ross, head of the fast-growing international business of insurance broker Arthur J Gallagher, to be its new chief executive.

On Monday, Towergate said that two more executives from New York-listed Arthur J Gallagher had followed Mr Ross.

Adrian Brown, the former chief of UK and Western Europe at RSA who has been at Arthur J Gallagher for less than six months, is set to leave, alongside Janice Deakin, its UK commercial director.

Gallagher has lined up Grahame “Chily” Chilton, a veteran Lloyd’s of London executive and former chief of reinsurance broker Benfield, to replace Mr Ross.

The appointments at Towergate are being co-ordinated by its unsecured creditors, who are set to seize control of the business as a result of the refinancing. They are being led by Highbridge Capital Management, an alternative investments arm of JPMorgan.

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