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BILL MAIN

With the departure of Orie Dudley from its fund management operation last week, Scottish Widows has taken the dramatic step of moving overall deputy chief executive Bill Main into the position.

The surprise departure of Dudley, who was serving as both Swip chief executive and acting chief investment officer, has led to Main&#39s move.

He was already a non-executive director of Swip. Sandy Nairn, Templeton&#39s director of global equity research, takes up the CIO post in November.

Main says: “Orie Dudley resigned unexpectedly. He was a valued colleague and led the integration of Hill Samuel Asset Management into Scottish Widows Investment Management.

“This opportunity has come up very unexpectedly but I am looking forward to the opportunity of leading a business that is going places.”

Splitting Dudley&#39s role between two people will be a difficult process and Main will be working closely with Dudley before his departure to Northern Trust Corporation at the end of September.

Main says Nairn was brought in for his investment experience and will be handling investment management and developing strategies.

Meanwhile, Main says he will be handling the corporate side of the business and taking a more hands-on approach to meeting customers and IFAs in an effort to go out and understand what makes the business tick.

He says: “I am taking forward what Dudley and others have started strategically. I would like to make a number of acquisitions in the future and will be dealing with other parts of the company, especially looking at the opportunities presented by the merger with Lloyds TSB.

“It will be developing and managing business as part of a larger group. We need to get the merger completed and start concentrating and focusing on delivering performance of existing funds which will build up business organically. Then we will start looking at building the business globally.”

Born in Lanarkshire, Main&#39s childhood gave him an enthusiasm for business from an early age that has so far not diminished. He says: “My father was a successful businessman and encouraged me to get the right mix of business flexibility for success in the future.”

Main has held a string of positions in financial services over the last 30 years.

It was meeting the current CEO socially in Edinburgh that led to Main joining Scottish Widows seven years ago.

He says: “I got to know Mike Ross, Scottish Widows&#39 CEO, through various social functions and I admired what he had done and wanted to do. He wanted to build up a plc-style financial division and I saw the potential of that vision.”

Main says working with Ross, who was prepared to back him and support his ideas, has been a great experience.

The merger of Scottish Widows with Lloyds TSB was not the first demutualisation Main has been involved in. Before joining Widows, he worked for Scottish Equitable and was heavily involved in the sale of the company to Aegon.

Main says Scottish Equitable was successful with sales but limited by a lack of capital. The company needed to demutualise and so went in search of a kindred spirit with access to the capital needed to helpit develop.

Main, who was appointed Widows deputy chief executive after the merger in March, points out it was different reasons that led to the merger of Widows and Lloyds TSB.

He says: “We were not looking for a partner – they approached us. We needed scale and volume and the merger meant we would become their dominant investment provider. We wanted to diversify a bit more and the merger gave us things we wanted.”

The integration was not all happy families. The decision to merge London-based Hill Samuel Asset Management into Widows&#39 Edinburgh-based operation prompted an exodus of 30 managers.

But Main says although the company tried to keep the best people, it was unable to convince some who were reluctant to relocate. He says it was inevitable it would lose staff, adding: “If you take two andtwo, it makes four. We did not need four.”

Main&#39s move into fund management last week finally achieved an ambition born in the early days of his career. After qualifying as a chartered accountant in 1967, Main went to London to work for Whinney & Murray – now Ernst & Young, where auditing Save & Prosper&#39s unit trusts gave him interest in the fund management area.

He believed he had the opportunity to build on this experience with a move to the World Banking Corporation, a consortium of American and European players, including Bank of America, developing a mutual funds business in the Bahamas.

But the position proved too good to be true and, by the time he arrived, it had decided to abandon its mutual fund plans and Main joined the operations division.

He says: “I was very disappointed but having made the decision to go to the Bahamas I decided to stay on and make the most of it. I worked hard but played hard too.”

Mains went through sev-eral career moves after his return to the UK but finally seems to have found his place with Widows.

The ambition to be a successful businessman came from his father but the thought of himself being a role model for his children is not something he aspires to.

When asked whether his 27-year-old daughter, who has qualified as chartered accountant and is working for Deutsche Bank, is following in his footsteps, he says: “I certainly hope not.”

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