JCA has a strong track record in hiring senior executives for FTSE 100 firms and Standard Life hopes to have a successor in place or identified by the end of the year.
Hunt announced her resignation from the Edinburgh-based group just 24 hours after presenting the pension giant’s first-quarter figures. She left immediately to take up the role of chief executive of Prudential UK and Europe, becoming the first female to hold such a position at the 165-year-old firm.
She is replacing Rob Devey, who is stepping down at the end of October to “pursue new opportunities”.
Hunt’s decision was seen as an astute career move, even though the low-growth UK market is no longer regarded as the Pru’s most important business.
It is Hunt’s first role as a chief executive, with some suggesting that she could ultimately succeed Tidjane Thiam as group chief executive.
Gerry Grimstone, chairman of Standard Life, said last week that there had already been a high level of interest in her position.
Hunt, 44, is leaving a job that paid her £2.5 million in salary and bonuses last year.
Her income at Prudential will be a relatively modest £625,000, though bonuses could be worth up to 160 per cent of basic pay.
Hunt is highly regarded in the industry for instilling discipline and control during her time at Standard Life, delivering cash generation and a focus on profitability.
She joined the company in January 2009 and became chief financial officer in May 2010.
Prior to that, she held a number of senior management roles, first at Royal & Sun Alliance and then at Aviva.
She is a non-executive director at transport group National Express and a board member at the Association of British Insurers.