John Foley is retiring as chief executive of UK savings and investment group M&G, which has struggled to find its feet since its demerger from insurer Prudential in 2019.

M&G said on Wednesday that Foley, who has been in the job since 2015, will continue in the position until a successor is in place.

He joined Prudential in 2000 as deputy group treasurer and later led the combination of M&G Investments with Prudential’s UK insurance business. In 2019, he oversaw the demerger of the enlarged M&G from Prudential group after the insurer decided to focus on Asia and Africa.

Since then, M&G has struggled, with investors pulling money from its funds and a share price that is down about 6 per cent from where it was trading at the time of the demerger.

M&G offers actively managed equity and bond funds as well as real estate and infrastructure products. Its multi-asset with-profits funds, which smooth returns, are popular with retirement savers.

But the FTSE 100 group has suffered from shrinking profits, lacklustre investment performance and investor outflows in recent years.

It recorded £6.8bn of net outflows in 2020 but showed signs of a turnround last year, with overall net inflows of £2bn, taking assets under management to £370bn at the end of 2021.

However, overall profits after tax fell sharply to £92mn last year, compared with £1.14bn in 2020, which M&G partially attributed to foreign exchange swings.

“I am exceptionally proud of what M&G has achieved since becoming an independent listed company three years ago. We have delivered our demerger commitments despite extraordinary macro challenges, and are well-placed to leverage M&G’s scale and expertise to build an international leader in savings and investments,” Foley said in the announcement.

The business has previously been cited as an acquisition target. Schroders had considered a takeover before ditching the plans in mid-2021, citing concerns about outflows and cultural fit.

The search for a new chief executive will be led by Edward Braham, M&G’s recently appointed chair, a Treasury board member and legal expert on mergers and acquisitions who stepped into the role in March.

Analysts at Citigroup think the process could take up to half a year, and cited risks including further outflows as the transition takes shape.

M&G shares rose 0.85 per cent following the announcement, bringing gains so far in 2022 to 1.87 per cent.

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