Cullum insists he and Homer will leave shortly after 2012 flotation

CCV would be integrated into the Towergate group prior to flotation, chairman Peter Cullum told Insurance Times this week.

In an exclusive and wide-ranging interview, Cullum also revealed that Towergate had taken a box at Lloyd’s, which will be operating shortly.

Cullum reiterated his plans to float the company, probably in 2012. He said: “There is every likelihood that if we were to do an IPO, CCV would become an integrated part because otherwise it would be a confusing message to an institutional marketplace.”

He admitted there would be pressure to simplify the ownership of other parts of his sprawling empire, which includes Open GI and electronic trading company PowerPlace, as well as Towergate, Paymentshield and Broker Network.

He said Towergate’s book of business with Aviva had fallen by £200m to around £250m over the past two years, but that he expected it to grow again under Mark Hodges’ leadership of Aviva.

Cullum predicted that the market would remain tough throughout 2010, but outlined plans for expansion. As well as taking a box at Lloyd’s, he intends to roll out new underwriting products, increase cross-selling across the group, and grow PowerPlace significantly. He said 300 staff had been laid off in 2009, which had been “ugly”, but that 100 had also been taken on.

He played down the significance of Amanda Blanc’s recent promotion to deputy chief executive, saying the succession was still between her, underwriting boss Clive Nathan and Paymentshield chief executive Tim Johnson.

Cullum added that he and chief executive Homer would stay up to, and for a short while beyond, a flotation. “When we do an IPO, then he and I will step aside. We can’t do it on day one because the institutions won’t allow us, but we would be selling it to institutions on the basis of those three, not on Homer and Cullum.”

Cullum said that he did not regret the collapse of an £800m deal to sell a stake in the business to private equity firm Candover in 2008. He said: “Money is one thing – it’s important, it would be stupid to say otherwise – but you have to have the right partner, and for us it just didn’t feel right.”

To read the full interview, click: Peter Cullum