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AIA’s Tucker to Join HSBC as Chairman

AIA’s regional CEO, Ng Keng Hooi, will take the rains at the life insurance company that spun out of AIG and went public in 2010.

  • Allen T. Cheng

Mark Tucker, group chief executive and president of AIA Group Ltd., is leaving Asia’s leading life insurer to become the non-executive group chairman of HSBC Holdings, the world’s seventh-largest banking conglomerate.

The company made the announcement on Monday in a release that also named Tucker’s long-time aide, Ng Keng Hooi, AIA’s regional CEO, as his successor. So far, executives at HSBC have declined to comment on Tucker’s announcement.

“It has been a great privilege to lead AIA,” said Tucker in the statement. He joined the firm in 2009 from UK-based insurer Prudential Plc., where he served as CEO for four years. While at AIA, Tucker grew the insurer’s value of new business from $667 million in the year ended Nov. 30, 2010, to $2.75 billion in the year ended Nov. 30, 2016. “I am enormously proud of the Group’s achievements since we became a public company and wish to thank the Board for its outstanding support,” he added.

The former Asia subsidiary of New York-based American International Group, AIA spun off from the insurance giant in 2009 and succeeded under Tucker’s leadership in a public listing on the Hong Kong Exchange in October 2010, raising $20 billion, the third-largest fund raising that year. The AIA spin-off occurred shortly after New York-based AIG suffered a near-death experience in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Tucker’s successor, Ng, is a life insurance veteran of 37 years, including 20 years working under his helm at Prudential.

Charles Zhou, a Hong Kong-based analyst covering insurance at investment bank Credit Suisse, says he believes Ng is the “best available option for sake of continuity” as Tucker’s successor. Zhou notes that Ng oversees group agency distribution, which is responsible for new insurance sales across Asia, and also oversees key markets, including China, which is a key driver of the insurer’s growth. Just prior to joining AIA in 2008, Ng was CEO of Great Eastern Holdings, the largest insurer in Singapore.

The business that is now AIA was first established in Shanghai almost a century ago. It serves 30 million individuals and 16 million group policy clients and is the leader in the Asia-Pacific region, ex-Japan, based on life insurance premiums. As of Nov. 30, AIA had total assets of $185 billion.