AIA loses key executive after massive IPO

By Denny Thomas

HONG KONG (BestGrowthStock) – AIA Group Ltd (1299.HK: ) has lost a key official less than three weeks after its parent American International Group Inc (AIG.N: ) raised $20.5 billion in an initial public offering (IPO) of the unit.

Chris Wei, AIA’s chief marketing officer, had resigned, an AIA spokeswoman said on Wednesday, confirming an earlier Reuters story. Wei has started gardening leave from Tuesday, a source earlier told Reuters.

Wei, who was responsible for AIA’s branding and product strategy, joined AIA two years ago and worked closely with former chief executive Mark Wilson in holding the company together while AIG was on the brink of collapse.

In July, AIG boss Robert Benmosche removed Mark Wilson as AIA CEO and replaced him with Mark Tucker, in what was seen as a fallout from the failed Prudential Plc (PRU.L: ) deal to buy AIA.

Prudential’s $35.5 billion initial bid for AIA was met with some opposition as AIA management was just weeks away from filing for an IPO. AIA lost two senior executives in March, soon after Prudential launched its bid for AIA.

It was not entirely clear why Wei resigned, but he was expected to join a rival insurer as CEO, the source said.

Simeon Preston, group head of business strategy, will be the interim CMO, the AIA spokeswoman said. AIA already has a new CFO but analysts are not hugely concerned about the top level changes at AIA.

“AIA does have a deep bench and I don’t think one or two personnel changes will have a significant impact on the business,” said Sally Yim, senior analyst of financial institutions group at Moody’s Investor Services.

“AIA has experienced some uncertainty due to high staff turnover over the past two years. Despite that, premium income has been holding up fairly well,” she added.

The insurer is going through a transition under Tucker, who is credited with building Prudential’s Asian business. Since arriving at AIA, Tucker has made some key hires, some of whom have worked with Prudential previously.

AIA shares ended down 2.6 percent at HK$22.70, compared with the IPO price of HK$19.68, while the Hang Seng Index (.HSI: ) finished 2 percent lower. (Editing by Chris Lewis and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

AIA loses key executive after massive IPO