American International Group Inc is expected to name former Prudential Plc Chief Executive Mark Tucker as head of AIA, as it prepares the Asian life insurance unit for an initial public offering, a source familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
Tucker will replace AIA Chief Executive Mark Wilson, the source said, adding that an announcement was expected as soon as Monday in Asia.
Wilson is expected to remain at the unit until the end of the year, the source said.
The move is the latest sign that AIG CEO Robert Benmosche is asserting his authority at the bailed out insurer, which is nearly 80 percent-owned by the U.S. government.
Last week, Harvey Golub stepped down as AIG's chairman, at odds with Benmosche over the unsuccessful sale of AIA to Prudential for $35.5 billion. AIG named Steve Miller as its new chairman.
AIG also decided last week to revive plans for an IPO of AIA, expected to be the biggest ever done solely in Hong Kong. Bankers said the IPO, which could be completed by year-end, is targeting around $15 billion in proceeds.
The insurer may sell stakes in AIA to strategic investors to raise $5 billion to $8 billion more ahead of the IPO, which it aims to launch by late October or early November, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Benmosche had been a proponent of a sale of the business to Prudential, instead of an IPO, and wanted to do a deal even at a lower price when the transaction ran into trouble. But he was overruled by AIG's board, which lost confidence in the ability of Prudential CEO Tidjane Thiam to close the deal.
Benmosche also met with some resistance from AIA management over the Prudential deal. Wilson was reported in May to have planned to quit if the takeover went ahead.
Wilson, a native New Zealander, was hired by Edmund Tse, AIA's former CEO, from AXA Asia Pacific in 2006. Wilson took over as AIA's CEO in 2009.
The move puts Tucker in charge of the unit he tried to buy last year while he was still the head of Prudential. Thiam took over at Prudential in October last year.
Under Tucker, Prudential looked at AIA as AIG scrambled early last year to sell assets to repay taxpayers after receiving a $182.3 billion bailout package. But it pulled out of the auction, concerned about price.
AIG declined to comment. The source is anonymous because the news was not yet public.
(Reporting by Paritosh Bansal; Editing by Maureen Bavdek and Steve Orlofsky)