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Tidjane Thiam, chief executive of Prudential, has emerged as a leading candidate to replace his counterpart at Legal & General as chairman of the Association of British Insurers.
Mr Thiam has been approached to replace Tim Breedon, whose tenure comes to an end at the end of June, people familiar with the process told the Financial Times.
They cautioned, however, that no agreement had yet been reached.
The appointment is likely to be subject of discussion between ABI board members and – given the time required by the role – the life assurance group’s directors.
The ABI and Prudential declined to comment.
Mr Thiam was two years ago offered a seat on the board of Société Générale, the French bank, as a non-executive director. But he turned down the offer after Prudential investors expressed amazement that he could consider the role while trying to seal an ambitious $35bn takeover of Asian rival AIA.
Since the aborted AIA deal Mr Thiam has worked hard to regain investor trust and shares in the UK’s biggest insurance company by market capitalisation have recovered.
The chairman of the ABI acts as a spokesman for the UK’s insurance industry and represents companies with about £1.7tn of assets under management.
Like Mr Breedon, Mr Thiam has been a fierce critic of the EU’s forthcoming Solvency II capital requirements.
Prudential said earlier this week it might still uproot its headquarters from London – most probably to Asia – because it remained concerned about how its US arm would be treated under the rules.
Mr Thiam hit out at critics who suggested the insurer’s threat was mere “sabre-rattling”.
The ABI also represent UK arms of overseas insurers. Clem Booth, chairman of Allianz UK, sits on its board. Other board members include David Nish, Paul Geddes and Simon Lee, respectively chief executives of Standard Life, the Direct Line Group and RSA.
Mr Thiam was educated in France and his career began at management consultant McKinsey in Paris, London and New York and led him to serve in the government of his native Ivory Coast.
After a military coup, Mr Thiam returned to France to become a partner with McKinsey. He joined Aviva, the Pru’s UK rival, in 2002 and has been chief executive of Prudential since 2009.
His other roles include a member of the Africa Progress Panel, chaired by Kofi Annan, and he has also chaired a G20 panel on infrastructure investment. Earlier this year he was appointed to the UK prime minister’s business advisory group.
Mr Breedon is also standing down as chief executive of L&G at the end of June.