Friends Provident has announced that its chief financial officer Jim Smart is planning to leave the company in this summer to pursue other opportunities.

Mr Smart joined the board of Friends Provident in November 2006 and was appointed to his current position on January 2007. He had been expected to leave the company under the terms of its proposed merger with Resolution in 2007.

Following the termination of that merger agreement, Mr Smart agreed to remain with Friends Provident to lead a detailed review of its strategic options. The results of the review which, when implemented will transform the company into a more streamlined, more focused and more profitable business, were announced on January 31, 2008.

With the review now complete, and implementation underway, Mr Smart has confirmed his intention to leave the company to pursue other opportunities and the Board has accepted his resignation. He will be leaving the company after its interim results, which are due to be announced in August 2008. By this time Trevor Matthews will have joined the company as group CEO.