Flotation not imminent - executive chairman Alastair Lyons

The hunt for Towergate’s next chief executive will take months, its executive chairman has said.

Alastair Lyons, who became executive chairman this afternoon following the resignation of Mark Hodges, said Towergate had appointed a head-hunter to find a replacement.

“At this stage it’s very, very early. All I can say is it’s not going to be imminent and I’m fully preparing my diary to do this for some months,” he told Insurance Times.

Lyons said the job would be different to Hodge’s because of changes to decentralise Towergate’s structure.

“Equally I recognise that whenever a chief executive takes over they’ll have ideas as to how the business is to be run,” he said.

Lyons said it was “almost inevitable” that Hodges’s successor would have an insurance background. However he said they would not necessarily need experience of facing City investors.

“An IPO is not something which I would see as imminent, if that were to be the way we decide take the business forward,” he said.

Asked when he knew that he’d be taking over as executive chairman, Lyons said: “I’m not going to into a detailed chronology on my discussion with Mark but suffice to say it’s longer than 24 hours.”

Although out of the building, Lyons said that Hodges “would not turn down a telephone call” if Lyons needed some guidance.

He added: “What Mark did - which is very helpful and entirely consistent with the way he and I have worked together for the past three years - is to put together a complete to do list of all the things that he is currently closely engaged in, most of which I’ve been working closely alongside him with as chairman.”

Lyons paid tribute to Hodges as “a very talented person”.

“I have a huge amount of time for him as an individual and as a businessman. I’m sure I will see him come up again in a senior role in the insurance industry in the not too distant future,” he said.