Higgs died unexpectedly yesterday afternoon in a London hospital after suddenly falling ill. He was 64.
Deputy chairman Roy Brown will act as chairman in the short term until a permanent successor is appointed.
Brown says: “It was with shock and sadness that we learned of Derek’s sudden and unexpected death and our thoughts are with his family.
“Derek made an outstanding contribution to British business and was a well-known figure in the city. He was a pleasure to work with.”
Higgs was appointed to the board of A&L as chairman in October 2005.
In a separate announcement A&L revealed group chief executive David Bennett will be returning to work next week having recovered from illness.
He is now fully fit and will be taking on all of his duties full time with effect from Tuesday May 6.