Higgs, aged 64, was appointed to the board of A&L as chairman on 28 October 2005.
A&L says Higgs was taken ill suddenly yesterday and died in a London hospital in the afternoon.
Deputy chairman Roy Brown will act as chairman in the short term whilst a permanent successor as chairman is identified.
Brown says: ‘It was with shock and sadness that we learned of Derek’s
sudden and unexpected death and our thoughts are with his family. Derek made an outstanding contribution to British business and was a well-known figure in the City; he was a pleasure to work with.’