City equal pay campaigner Helena Morrissey quits Legal & General

Surprise move apparently not linked to speculation over Bank of England role

Dame Helena Morrissey, the City fund manager and equal pay and opportunities campaigner who is one of the City’s highest profile women, has quit as the head of Legal & General’s personal investing business, saying she wants to pursue other interests.

Morrissey, who established the 30% Club in 2010 to campaign for greater female representation on company boards, is one of the City’s highest profile Brexiters. She was recently interviewed to be the next governor of the Bank of England.

In a statement, she said: “I see a changing Britain and have a lot of ideas and other things that I want to achieve.”

A source close to the businesswoman said she had given “absolutely no sense” that the surprise move had anything to do with the Bank of England vacancy and that the departure was “a time of life thing”. The 53-year-old will remain at the company for the next two weeks.

Morrissey was interviewed last month to replace Mark Carney as the BoE governor. The news caused a stir because, apart from her already high profile, there has never been a female governor in the Bank’s 325-year history.

She also chairs the Diversity Project, which was launched in 2016 to encourage a more inclusive culture in the investment and savings industry.

Earlier this week, Morrissey criticised a widening gender pay gap in the fund management sector, after a report highlighted signs of resentment from professionals dismissing diversity as political correctness.

Describing the data as “both depressing and galvanising”, Morrissey said attempts to persuade resistant colleagues was likely to be counterproductive and that “instead, diversity and inclusion needs to be treated just like any other business issue, featured on every strategy day agenda, in every performance review, every hiring, promotion and reward decision, every risk and culture assessment”.

The announcement of her departure ends a two-and-a-half-year career at Legal & General Investment Managers, having become head of personal investing in May 2017. Morrissey was previously chief executive of Newton Investment Management for 15 years.

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The financier became well known as a so-called City “supermum”, feted by the financial media as she rose to the top of the fund management industry while her husband managed their household containing nine children.

LGIM, said that Honor Solomon, head of retail for Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Emma Douglas, head of defined contribution, would take over Morrissey’s duties.

Michelle Scrimgeour, the chief executive of LGIM, said: “[Morrissey] has been a powerful advocate for diversity within financial services and the City more generally. She has established a strong foundation for LGIM’s growth in the personal investing space, leading our efforts to engage with the nation’s savers and personal investors.”

Morrissey said she would “continue to work with colleagues at LGIM through the Diversity Project, demonstrating the good on-going relationship between us”.


Simon Goodley

The GuardianTramp

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