UPDATE 1-Liberty Holdings' chief executive quits, replaced by Standard Bank executive

executive@ (Adds Standard Bank CEO comment)

JOHANNESBURG, May 30 (Reuters) - South African life insurer Liberty Holdings has appointed Standard Bank's head of investment banking as its new chief executive with immediate effect following the resignation of Thabo Dloti, the company said on Tuesday.

David Munro, Standard Bank's head of corporate and investment banking, will take the reins, following the the departure of Dloti, chief executive for the past three years, after a disagreement with the board.

Standard Bank has a 53 percent stake in Liberty and has been working on a turnaround plan at the insurer, which has been struggling to increase profits.

"Thabo is leaving Liberty following a difference of opinion with the board on the immediate focus of the company at a time when the organization is facing tough operational and environmental challenges," Liberty said in a statement.

Standard Bank's joint-chief executive Sim Tshabalala said in a separate statement that Liberty remained a fundamentally sound business and that the majority shareholder was confident of the insurer's long-term profitability.

"Our ongoing priority is to enable to achieve its growth by focusing on a short-term recovery plan and a longer-term strategy to reinforce its competitiveness," Tshabalala said.

Standard Bank has appointed Kenny Fihla, the deputy chief executive of corporate investment banking, to take Munro's place at the bank. (Reporting by TJ Strydom; Editing by Greg Mahlich)