Prudential chief executive Tidjane Thiam has rejected a nonexecutive director role at Société Générale following strong criticism from shareholders that he should be devoting his time to dealing with the insurer’s acquisition of AIG’s Asian arm.
Société Générale announced last week that Thiam would be nominated as an independent director at its annual shareholder meeting on May 25.
The news prompted a backlash from Prudential shareholders who claimed Thiam should be concentrating on leading the insurer through its £23.5bn acquisition of AIA and launch of its £14bn rights issue. Shareholder Royal London also criticised Thiam, claiming he “ought to be busy with his day job”.
Thiam, who became group chief executive of the insurance giant last October, now insists he will not take up the offer.
He says: “I am very flattered to have been selected for the role of independent director at Société Générale, which is an outstanding organisation.
“But my absolute priority is to continue to focus on delivering strong results for our shareholders and on ensuring the success of the transformational transaction and the subsequent integration with AIA.
“I will therefore not be pursuing this opportunity with Société Générale.”