* CEO Richard Brindle to retire on April 30
* Chief Underwriting Officer Alex Maloney to take over
* Maloney says co has had "good start" to the year
* Shares down as much as 5 pct (Adds CEO, analyst comments; updates share movement)
April 16 (Reuters) - Property and casualty insurer Lancashire Holdings said head underwriting officer Alex Maloney would take over as chief executive from Richard Brindle, who founded the company in 2005.
The company's London-listed shares fell as much as 5 percent after it said 51-year-old Brindle would retire as chief executive and as a director on April 30.
"This shock announcement is likely to be taken negatively initially, with Richard Brindle seen as the driving force behind Lancashire," Espirito Santo analyst Sarah Lewandowski wrote in a note.
"However, there is a planned succession with Alex being known to investors."
Maloney, 40, has held several roles at Lancashire since its inception, the most recent being chief underwriting officer while also heading the insurer's UK unit.
"We're not looking to change anything ... I think for us it's pretty much business as usual," Maloney told Reuters.
"We have had a good start to 2014, and the acquisition of Cathedral last year has bedded in well," he said.
Espirito's Lewandowski backed this up, saying the extra underwriting strength from Lancashire's acquisition of Lloyd's insurer Cathedral Capital last year would serve the company well. She rates Lancashire's stock at 'buy'.
Paul Gregory, chief underwriter at Lancashire's UK division, will become group chief underwriting officer, the insurer said.
Lancashire's stock, which also went ex-dividend on Wednesday, was down 3.1 percent at 680.5 pence at 0925 GMT, making it the second biggest percentage loser on the FTSE-250 midcap index. (Reporting by Richa Naidu in Bangalore; Editing by Sunil Nair)