Outgoing Chartered Insurance Institute director general David Bland was ousted in an institute coup, Insurance Times has learned.
CII president Reg Brown denied a coup, but said: "Mature people discuss these things and a mature discussion led to him (Bland) leaving." Brown admitted he prompted the discussion when he began his presidency. "You start off by saying 'what are your ambitions?' and finally the decision was taken, after a couple of months, that he would retire."
Bland has already effectively quit his job with the institute and is not in the office most days. The CII has appointed a temporary director, Kate Clayden, to help share his workload. Staff who previously reported direct to Bland are now reporting to other directors.
All CII council members were sent a letter explaining that Bland had passed on his executive responsibilities as of Easter.
Brown said: "Once these decisions are made, you have to have clarity and clarity comes with a short lead in."
But others have suggested Bland's forthright comments on insurers' failures to take professional training seriously unless regulated and on the lack of recognition for brokers under the General Insurance Standards Council (Insurance Times April 20, page 15), made him a marked man.
Insurance Times understands that Bland, who has announced that he will retire in December this year, did not originally want to leave ahead of his contract, which had two more years to run. But sources within the CII lay membership claim industry figures wanted someone with "a more commercial background". Bland is an academic.
A number of sources have confirmed anonymously to Insurance Times that there has been "some disquiet" within the CII over the past year or so that Bland was not business driven. Yet other insiders say the CII will this year post some of its best financial results ever.
Brown said the CII had already driven through changes to its constitution, which will come into effect this autumn when Independent Insurance's Michael Bright takes over as president, and it knew it had to consider Bland's replacement soon anyway. "The CII had to tackle the succession and it's done that," Brown said.
But he insisted it was no coup. "I don't see any internal coup. The last thing that goes on at the CII is a palace coup."
He also sang Bland's praises. "He deserves a great deal of recognition. If only he liked parties more than he does, I'd be holding a party for him," said Brown.
David Bland and Michael Bright were not available for comment.