Alliance & Leicester names new chairman

Sir Derek Higgs, City veteran and author of the modern guide to best
boardroom practice, has been named as the new chairman of mortgage bank,
Alliance & Leicester.

The current chairman, John Windeler, announced his intention to leave at the
annual A&L meeting in May; and on 28 October, Sir Derek will take over.

The 61-year-old accountant first came to prominence when he was appointed by
chancellor Gordon Brown to review the role of non-executive directors, which
resulted in a revised code on corporate governance in 2003.

The Higgs report aimed to limit the number of directorships held by
non-executives and called for directors to be drawn from more diverse
backgrounds, moving away from the traditional white male dominance.

Sir Derek suggested that the chairman of a company should not have ever been
a chief executive of that company in order to provide a check on management
power, and avoid a repeat of Enron-style scandals.

In line with the rules of the report, A&L has announced that Sir Derek is
stepping down from non-executive roles at Allied Irish Banks and online bank
Egg, and also as deputy chairman of British Land.

However, he will continue to act as chairman for Bramdean Asset Management
and Partnerships UK, and he will keep his non-executive positions of Coventry
City football club and Jones Lang LaSalle.

A&L has recently been delivering flat revenue growth and is trying to
attract more online and telephone customers in order to keep costs down. It is
hoped that the appointment of Sir Derek will be a positive contribution during
this key period of change.

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