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Legal & General has shaken up the management teams at two of its most important businesses as it scales up on both sides of the Atlantic.

The insurer said on Thursday that Paul Stanworth, head of its direct investment arm, would leave the company. He will be replaced by Kerrigan Procter, who has been head of the group’s retirement business since 2013.

Mr Procter is seen by some people as a potential long-term successor to chief executive Nigel Wilson.

Mr Procter’s job at Legal & General Retirement will be split into two, with Laura Mason running institutional retirement products such as bulk annuities, and Chris Knight in charge of the retail retirement business.

Mr Wilson said the changes “increase Legal & General’s capability to accelerate the growth of our business”.

The two divisions are at the heart of the group’s strategy. Legal & General Retirement sells annuities to companies and individuals in the UK, and is expected to be one of the bidders for an annuity book that Prudential has put on the block. The group is also expanding its retirement business in the US.

LGR last year made profits of £811m, making it L&G’s biggest division.

The group increasingly backs its annuities with direct investments in long-term assets such as property and infrastructure, many of which are sourced by Legal & General Capital. L&G is aiming to invest a total of £15bn in UK housing, urban regeneration, clean energy and small business finance.

LGC last year generated profits of £257m.

The company this week announced the £51m acquisition of Renaissance Villages, which builds housing for retired people.

Eamonn Flanagan, analyst at Shore Capital, said: “The changes make sense . . . It gives [Kerrigan Procter] the opportunity to run a very crucial part of the business.”

Legal & General has been through a series of management changes over the past 18 months. John Kingman became chairman last year, while Jeff Davies joined as chief financial officer in March. Paul Miller, a former Goldman Sachs banker, became group strategy and M&A director in June.

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