The boss of mutual life insurer LV=, who led the group’s ill-fated attempt to sell itself to a US private equity firm, is stepping down seven months after the deal failed.
Mark Hartigan said he will stay on as interim chief executive until a successor is appointed.
His departure comes after he faced calls to quit following the botched £530 million deal, when LV’s 1.2 million members voted in December against the proposed sale to Bain Capital.
He also came under fire after it was revealed that he landed a £511,000 bonus for 2021 despite the failed sale and even though earnings tumbled 22%.
With LV= now looking forward to the future with confidence, the board and Mark have agreed that the time is right to appoint a permanent chief executive
Simon Moore, LV= chairman
LV chairman Alan Cook had already resigned after the deal fell through.
Simon Moore, who has since replaced Mr Cook as chairman, said Mr Hartigan has led a “successful turnaround of the business” in spite of the failed deal.
He added: “With LV= now looking forward to the future with confidence, the board and Mark have agreed that the time is right to appoint a permanent chief executive to build on this platform and further develop a sustainable mutual future for LV=.”
The group has kicked off the search for a new chief executive, with help from headhunters Russell Reynolds Associates.
Mr Hartigan said: “Thanks to the progress of our plan to transform the business, and despite challenging trading conditions, it is now well capitalised and clear in its future plans.
“With a strong leadership team in place and a clear plan for the future it is the appropriate time for me to step aside as interim chief executive.
The takeover saga thrust LV into the limelight last year, with politicians wading into the debate amid concerns over LV=’s future in the hands of a private equity firm, the payouts being offered to members and motives behind the sale.
Bosses had insisted it was the only deal that would secure its future.
Members would have handed over ownership of the group in return for £100 each while with-profits members would have been given an additional boost when their policies matured, but the payouts were seen as paltry.
It also emerged that rival Royal London had offered a higher £540 million to merge with LV= before the board backed the Bain deal.
Royal London then rekindled talks over a possible merger after the Bain vote, but both sides ended up walking away.