LONDON — Management can make all the difference to a company’s success, and thus its share price.
The best companies are those run by talented and experienced leaders with strong vested interests in the success of the business, held in check by a board with sound financial and business acumen. Some of the worst investments to hold are those run by executives collecting fat rewards as the underlying business goes to pot.
In this series, I’m assessing the boardrooms of companies within the FTSE 100. I hope to separate the management teams that are worth following from those that are not. Today I am looking at Admiral Group plc (LON:ADM), the U.K.’s second-largest motor insurer.
Here are the key directors:
|Alistair Lyons||(non-exec) Chairman|
|Henry Engelhardt||Chief Executive|
|Kevin Chidwick||Finance Director|
|David Stephens||Chief Operating Officer|
Alistair Lyons has been chairman since 2000, a period of time which might bring his independence into question. He became chairman of FTSE 100 outsourcer Serco in 2010 and is also chairman of unlisted insurance company Towergate and deputy chairman of FTSE 250 housebuilder Bovis. A chartered accountant, he undertook finance roles in HP Bulmer, Asda and National & Provincial Building Society, before moving up to be CEO of National & Provincial in 1994.
An American, Henry Engelhardt was a founder director of Admiral Group plc (LON:ADM) in 1993. He has led the company through its management buyout in 1999, listing in 2004, and entry into the FTSE 100 in 2007. Prior to establishing Admiral Group plc (LON:ADM) he worked in the team creating Churchill Insurance, one of the pioneers of direct insurance sales in the U.K..
Mr Engelhardt owns 14% of Admiral, which puts him into Forbes’ list of billionaires.
David Stevens was brought in as a co-founder of Admiral Group plc (LON:ADM), having been a fellow student at INSEAD. Previously he was a graduate trainee at Cadbury and a consultant with McKinsey. He owns 4% of the company despite having gifted, along with his wife who was also a co-founder of the company, £100m-worth of shares to establish a charitable trust.
Kevin Chidwick joined Admiral Group plc (LON:ADM) in 2005 as deputy finance director, taking over the finance director role from one of the firm’s founders in 2006. A chartered accountant, he had previously worked exclusively in the financial services sector, including roles at Engage Mutual, Cigna U.K., and National Australia Bank. Some operational responsibilities have led to suggestions that he is being groomed as a future CEO.