Manulife Asia CEO takes top job at Prudential

Prudential has named Anil Wadhwani as group chief executive. He will continue to be based in Hong Kong, as will Damien Green who has been named his successor as Asia CEO at Manulife.
Manulife Asia CEO takes top job at Prudential

Anil Wadhwani has joined Prudential as its group chief executive officer (CEO), leaving his role as Asia chief at Manulife. Damien Green has been appointed his replacement. 

Wadhwani replaces Mike Wells who had been group chief since 2015 and retired in February. Chief operating officer Mark FitzPatrick has been interim CEO ever since.

Anil Wadhwani,

FitzPatrick will "continue to lead the business and support Wadhwani in his transition," the group said in a statement on Wednesday (May 25).

Wadhwani will start in his role on February 25, 2023, subject to regulatory approvals, and will continue to be based in Hong Kong.

Prudential had previously said that the next CEO would be based in Hong Kong, but Covid restrictions had cast doubt on the move earlier this year. 

Wadhwani joined Manulife as Asia CEO in November 2017. Prior to this, he was with Citi for over 15 years, serving in several senior roles in Asia, United Kingdom and the US to oversee regional consumer and commercial banking businesses.

Prudential also announced that Nic Nicandrou, CEO, Asia and Africa will be leaving to seek opportunities outside the group. Based in Hong Kong, he was among the leading candidates for the group CEO position, according to the Financial Times. With the appointment of Wadhwani as permanent CEO, the role of CEO, Asia and Africa has been eliminated, the firm said.

“The board would like to express its sincere gratitude to Nicandrou for his significant contribution and leadership over the past 13 years both as group chief financial officer and as CEO of Asia and Africa, and wishes him every success in his future career,” the British life insurer said in the statement.

Prudential’s largest life insurance businesses are based in mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. It also runs life businesses in other growing economies in Southeast Asia and Africa.

Meanwhile, Manulife has promoted its Hong Kong CEO Damien Green to lead the Asia business with immediate effect, the Canadian life insurer announced, also on Wednesday (May 25).

Damien Green,
Manulife Asi

As the new Asia CEO, Green will strive to lead Manulife to the next stage of growth in Asia as the most digital, customer-centric global company in the industry. “I will be focused on delivering the company’s ambition to be the No. 1 Pan-Asian life insurer,” he told AsianInvestor.

Green will remain based in Hong Kong, reporting directly to Manulife’s president and CEO, Roy Gori.

Pankaj Banerjee, chief distribution officer for Manulife Asia, will serve as interim CEO of Manulife Hong Kong, pending completion of the appointment process for Green’s successor. Banerjee will begin the interim role upon regulatory approval, and report to Green. He is also based in Hong Kong.

Pankaj Banerjee,
Manulife Asia

Manulife’s principal operations are in Asia, Canada and the United States. The Asia business is the life insurer’s biggest contributor to new business value and core earnings. It has franchises across 12 markets in the region, including Greater China, Japan, Singapore, and other Southeast Asian countries.

As of March 31, Manulife managed C$409.4 billion ($318.8 billion) invested assets, including 20% investing in Asia, or $63.8 billion, according to its first quarter report released on May 12.   

Green has over 20 years of experience in the financial industry, having held leadership roles across Asia Pacific with MetLife, AIA and AustralianSuper.

He joined Manulife in 2018 as the chief strategy and transformation officer for Asia. He was named the CEO of Manulife Hong Kong to oversee Hong Kong and Macau business in January 2020.

Under Damien’s leadership, Manulife Hong Kong became the largest life insurer in the market based on total new premiums, according to calculation based on provisional statistics on Hong Kong Long Term Insurance Business (Classes A to F) 2021 published by the Insurance Authority.

It also remains the largest Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) provider in Hong Kong based on assets under management and net cash flows, according to the Mercer MPF Market Shares Report as of March 31.

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