Sir Derek Higgs, the man responsible for overhauling UK corporate governance
in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom disasters has died suddenly at the age of
A statement from Alliance and Leicester, where he was company chairman, said:
‘It is with deep regret that Alliance & Leicester announces the unexpected
death of its chairman, Sir Derek Higgs, at the age of 64. He was taken ill
suddenly yesterday, 28 April, and died in a London hospital yesterday
Sir Derek qualified as a chartered accountant with Price Waterhouse before
moving to Barings and then to SG Warburg where he remained for almost 25 years.
He became chairman of Alliance and Leicester in October 2005.
However, it was writing what became known as the Higgs Report on company
boardrooms, amid concerns that governance needed shoring up in the City
following Enron and WorldCom, that made Sir Derek a high profile figure.
The report tackled the role of non executive directors and made a series of
proposals the most important of which was the conclusion that the chairman and
chief executive’s positions should be separated.
The report has since become a significant weapon in the armoury of activist
shareholders when holding executives to account.
Roy Brown, Alliance and Leicester’s acting chairman is reported in The
Guardian paying tribut to Sir Derek: ‘Derek made an outstanding
contribution to British business and was a well-known figure in the City. He was
a pleasure to work with.’
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