Sir Nigel Wilson to retire after decade at top of Legal & General


Sir Nigel Wilson retires as chief exec of Legal & General after more than a decade

Sir Nigel Wilson retires as CEO of Legal & General after more than a decade.

Two of the leading internal candidates to succeed him at the asset manager and insurer are women – and if one of them is appointed, it could contribute to the dominance of female leaders in the industry.

Analysts at Citi said Wilson, 66, would be a “tough act to follow” and shares fell 1.8 percent when announcing his departure.

Step down: Legal & General boss Sir Nigel Wilson retires as CEO after more than a decade in charge

Investors have achieved a return of 641 percent since he joined the company, compared to 164 percent for the FTSE 100, L&G said.

Wilson joined the company in 2009 as chief financial officer and assumed the top position in 2012. In 2021, he received £4.5 million.

L&G said it would begin a “broad search” for a replacement, including a “strong group of senior managers and divisional chief executives,” as well as outside candidates.

Potential internal hires for the role include Laura Mason, who heads up alternative asset division L&G Capital.

Michelle Scrimgeour, chief executive of the group’s investment management unit, and Jeff Davies, L&G’s chief financial officer, also participate.

It could mean the company appoints the first female CEO in its 187-year history.

Rivals Aviva and Admiral are already led by Amanda Blanc and Milena Mondini de Focatiis, while the Prudential is presided over by Baroness Vadera, and Penny James just lost the top job at Direct Line. An L&G spokesman said: “We are not going to speculate on individuals.”

The company, which is valued at £15.6 billion, said the appointment and transition period would last “about a year”.

Wilson has guided L&G through a turbulent period in the industry, which saw four changes at the top of rival Aviva and the breakup of Prudential.

Under his leadership, the company’s assets under management have risen to over £1.3 trillion and led the group to invest in areas such as housing, infrastructure and science parks.

Wilson, an avid athlete who grew up on a council estate in County Durham, has advocated “inclusive capitalism” – delivering returns to shareholders while making investments that help fight inequality.

He also supported a review of so-called Solvency II rules, which the government hopes will unlock billions of pounds of investment in areas such as green energy and infrastructure.

A father of five, Wilson has served on business advisory boards for a number of prime ministers and was knighted last year. He turned down an offer to serve as Secretary of Investments under Liz Truss.

He said yesterday: “I am confident that we have built a strong foundation to support the group’s next growth phase.”