LV chairman fights for his job: Alan Cook’s future in doubt amid backlash over his handling of private equity deal
The future of the LV chairman has been thrown into doubt over his handling of its planned takeover by private equity.
Alan Cook was due to stay at the company for another two years – collecting over £400,000 in the process – following the sale to Bain Capital.
But the deal has faced a ferocious backlash from members and other critics, casting doubt on his future.
Doubts: Alan Cook was due to stay at LV for another two years – collecting over £400,000 in the process – following the sale to Bain Capital
Sources close to the deal have suggested he may even be replaced in an attempt to persuade members to approve the £530million takeover.
The Daily Mail understands that a move to bring in a ‘senior figure’ from the insurance industry to restore faith in the firm has been mentioned.
If Cook is ousted, it could also raise questions over the future of LV chief executive Mark Hartigan. He has not yet signed a contract to keep his role under Bain.
LV declined to comment, but a source close to the company said Cook’s departure was ‘not something that is currently being discussed’. Bain also declined to comment. Just weeks before Cook began the search for a buyer last year, he declared that ‘the concept of mutuality and importance of membership is at the heart of LV’.
His change of heart has sparked outrage among members – as has the £100 they have each been offered to sell out to Bain.
It was assumed that Cook would be staying on for two years, collecting his annual fee of £205,000.
Hartigan, who was paid £1.2million last year, was set to earn even more under private equity ownership.
The planned sale of LV is not the first time Cook has courted controversy.
He was managing director of the Post Office between 2006 and 2010, when around 200 of the men and women who ran local branches were wrongly prosecuted for wrongdoing. And he was chairman of Highways England between 2010 and 2013, when it had a key role in adjusting the design of smart motorways,
While there he oversaw a cut in the proposed number of life-saving refuge areas.
Despite his chequered career, Cook was welcomed to LV in 2017, as the life insurer was in the final stages of selling its chunky general insurance business to Allianz.
Following that transaction, LV had been ready to sell itself to Royal London, the Mail understands. But Cook insisted that he wanted to court other buyers, which resulted in the deal with Bain.
Customers are worried that LV will now shift from being owned by its members, and run for their benefit, to being milked for profit by a cash-hungry private equity firm.