March 13, 2017 3:14 pm JST

AIA CEO Tucker to leave for HSBC, insurer's shares head south

HONG KONG (NewsRise) -- AIA Group said Chief Executive Officer Mark Tucker is leaving the company to become chairman of HSBC Holdings, news that pushed shares of the leading insurer to their steepest drop in more than three months.

Tucker, 59, an industry veteran who joined AIA in 2010 after serving as group CEO of Prudential Plc, will retire from all executive positions at AIA and its subsidiaries, the Hong Kong-listed company said Monday in a filing to the stock exchange. Tucker will also step down as a non-executive director on the board of Goldman Sachs Group.

AIA named regional chief executive Ng Keng Hooi as its group chief executive and president designate with immediate effect.

HSBC, in its release to the Hong Kong stock exchange, said Tucker would take over as non-executive chairman on Oct. 1.

AIA shares fell 2.8% by midday in Hong Kong, the biggest drag in point terms on the benchmark Hang Seng Index. Meanwhile, HSBC Holdings jumped 2.2%, driving the 50-stock gauge's 0.9% advance.

"It's just the uncertainty that is weighing on AIA today, markets don't like that," said Andrew Sullivan, managing director for sales trading at Haitong International Securities. "And HSBC is up because they see what Tucker has done for AIA," he added.

Soon after he joined AIA, Tucker led AIA's mammoth initial public offering worth more than $20 billion when American Insurance Group sold off its holdings in the company. He has since overseen a quadrupling of the value of AIA's new business - a key performance metric for insurers - to about $2.8 billion in the year ended Nov. 30. The company currently has a market value of nearly $78 billion and employs around 21,000 people globally.

Ng, 62, will replace Tucker from Sept. 1 for an initial three-year term, which could be renewed for another three years, AIA said.

Ng joined AIA in 2010 from Great Eastern Holdings, where he was group chief executive. He started his career at AIA Malaysia in 1980, and has also worked at Prudential, where he was last the managing director for insurance, responsible for operations in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Linus Yip, a strategist at First Shanghai Securities, described Monday's drop in AIA shares as an "overreaction."

"For such big companies, I don't think there will be a big impact on their strategy" because of a change in some management personnel, he said.

Tucker, who was reportedly a professional soccer player before he joined the financial services industry, also served as a non-executive director on the Court of the Bank of England for about three years through May 2012.

In his new role at HSBC, Tucker will succeed long-standing Chairman Douglas Flint and move to headquarters in London. Tucker is expected to lead the search for a replacement for current group CEO Stuart Gulliver, who has expressed a desire to retire by around 2018.

--V. Phani Kumar and Suzannah Benjamin

Asia300

AIA Group Ltd.

Hong Kong

Market(Ticker): HKG(1299)
Sector:
Industry:
Finance
Life/Health Insurance
Market cap(USD): 89,784.28M
Shares: 12,074.05M

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