Wellington chairman resigns, followed by three non-executive directors

Wellington's senior management team has been thrown into disarray by the company's merger with fellow Lloyd's insurer, Catlin.

Chairman of Wellington Underwriting John Barton has become the latest and most senior member to leave the company. He resigned on 31 December after seven years on the board.

Barton, who is also chairman of high street retailer Next, was followed by non-executive directors John Engestrom, Paul Hamilton and Julian Hance, who have all resigned.

The raft of departures follows the departure of David Gittings, who left his post as Wellington's group head of risk last month to join the Lloyd's Market Association as chief executive.

Sources close to the company have now speculated that Wellington's finance director, Katherine Lettsinger, and company secretary, Heather Thomas, could be next to leave the company, although Catlin would not comment on these reports.

Former chief executive Preben Prebensen is on long-term sick leave after reportedly suffering a heart attack just before Christmas. He is expected back at work at the end of this month.

Initial assurances from Catlin were that "key Well- ington executives will be an integral part of the enlarged group's management team". Yet the latest resignations signal a new direction for the Lloyd's insurer.

Catlin also confirmed that two senior aviation underwriters have resigned.

Robert Swinton and Noel Holloway, the head and deputy head of Wellington's aviation team, left the company last week.

This follows the departure of other senior underwriting members in its marine, bloodstock/livestock and property divisions.

"I would expect more [departures] to come in April or May," a source close to Wellington said. So far 10 people have left the company. This represents about 5% of Catlin's entire underwriting team of around 200 people.