Now sack blundering LV boss Hartigan, mutual's new chairman is told

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Now sack blundering LV boss Hartigan, mutual’s new chairman is told on day of his appointment

The new chairman of LV is already under pressure to fire its bungling chief executive Mark Hartigan.

Simon Moore, a former banker, was appointed to lead the board of the historic mutual insurer yesterday following a four-month hunt.

And he faced immediate calls to oust Hartigan over last year’s attempt to sell 179-year-old LV to private equity predator Bain Capital.

Uncertain future: LV chief exec Mark Hartigan (pictured) is under fire over last year's attempt to sell 179-year-old  mutual to private equity predator Bain Capital

Uncertain future: LV chief exec Mark Hartigan (pictured) is under fire over last year’s attempt to sell 179-year-old  mutual to private equity predator Bain Capital

John Higgins, who has been a member of the life insurer for more than 50 years, said: ‘I would hope that getting rid of Mark Hartigan is top of the agenda.’ 

More than 1,000 readers have written to the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday calling for a no confidence vote in Hartigan at LV’s annual meeting as they seek to remove him from his job.

LV is now on course for an embarrassing showdown with its members over Hartigan’s future – unless Moore acts first. 

If Hartigan had succeeded in his attempt to sell the company to Bain, LV would have lost its treasured mutual status – a structure which means it is owned by its customers and run for their benefit rather than for investors seeking a profit.

Members voted the deal down in December. It followed a Save LV campaign by the Mail backed by members, industry experts and politicians.

The collapse of the deal saw chairman Alan Cook pushed out. Hopes are now riding on Moore, 57, to bring in new management.

Labour MP Gareth Thomas, who leads the parliamentary group for mutuals, said: ‘Given LV’s disastrous attempt to sell itself last year, there’s a lot of work for Mr Moore to do to rebuild trust in the company.

‘Key to that will be finding a new chief executive quickly, and ending the culture of secrecy that characterised LV’s communications over the past few years.’

Industry insiders reacted with caution to Moore’s appointment. Three former LV board directors said they had not come across him before, and noted he had no apparent experience in working for a mutual. 

Chairman: Simon Moore, a former banker, was appointed to lead the board of the historic mutual insurer yesterday following a four-month hunt

Chairman: Simon Moore, a former banker, was appointed to lead the board of the historic mutual insurer yesterday following a four-month hunt

One said: ‘Never heard of him, which tells you a lot. From what I hear [LV] has really struggled to find anyone to take the job – [it was] offered to lots but everyone thought it was a poisoned chalice.’ 

Baroness Altmann, former Tory pensions minister, said: ‘I wish the new chairman well. I hope he has the right mindset for mutuality which is so important. It’s a different way of working – not to worry about profit but about members. 

‘I hope the members will give him a chance and he won’t let them down.’ Altmann, who was touted as a potential chairman by some experts, was not approached for the job.

Moore claims to be committed to mutuality. He said: ‘I was attracted to the strength of the LV brand and mutual ethos, and my focus will be on building a strong and thriving business for the benefit of our members, advisers and employees.’ Like Hartigan, Moore began his career in the Army. 

He moved into finance as a graduate trainee at Lloyds Bank, before spending six years at Chase Manhattan Bank working in London and New York across life and general insurance.

Following a brief stint at ABN Amro, he spent almost eight years at Barclays, where he became regional chairman of Wales and the South West. 

Currently, he is chairman at lenders PCF Group, RCI Bank UK and Cambridge & Counties Bank, owned by Trinity Hall Cambridge and the Cambridgeshire Local Government Pension Fund.

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