More News » Career moves including Unilever, Ashtead and Go-Ahead

Paul Polman to step down as Unilever chief executive

Anglo-Dutch consumer giant Unilever has announced the retirement of CEO Paul Polman at the end of this year. Polman has over 10 years of service with the company and will be replaced by Alan Jope, who is the firm’s Beauty & Personal Care division president. Jope will start as the CEO from January 2019 and Polman will assist him for the first six months ensuring smooth transition.

Commenting on his retirement, Polman said: “It has been an honour to lead Unilever over the last 10 years. Throughout this time, I have been humbled by the commitment and hard work of our people, and their passion for creating a truly purpose-driven company. I am very grateful to them, as I am to Unilever’s many other stakeholders, with whom we have worked to build our long-term, sustainable business. I look forward to engaging with many of these partners – in a different capacity – to help address the many environmental and social challenges facing the world.”

Ashtead CEO Geoff Drabble to step down

British industrial equipment rental company Ashtead has announced the resignation of CEO Geoff Drabble with effect from 1 May 2019. Drabble will stay with the group until 30 November 2019 to ensure a smooth handover. The company has named Brendan Horgan, currently Group Chief Operating Officer and chief executive of Sunbelt Rentals, the Group’s North American business, as the successor of Drabble. Drabble will help Horgan over the next few months for an orderly transition.

Go-Ahead Group appoints interim CFO

UK-based passenger transport provider Go-Ahead Group has appointed Elodie Brian as the interim chief financial officer. Brian will start the role in effect from December 3 2018. Brian has previously worked with tour operating company train operator London & South Eastern Railway for over 10 years. The company also announced that the recruitment of a chief financial officer is underway.

WH Ireland finance director steps down

London-based wealth management and corporate and institutional broking firm WH Ireland has announced the resignation of finance director Daniel Cowland. He will step down from his role not later than 30 April 2019. The company also announced that an interim finance director will be appointed next week and that Cowland would help the interim to ensure orderly transition.

Rathbone Brothers appoints chief executive officer

London headquartered investment management company Rathbone Brothers has promoted group finance director Paul Stockton as the chief executive officer. He will succeed Philip Howell, who will retire from his post in May next year during the agm. Stockton was finance director for almost a decade and became managing director in May 2018. Howell and Stockton will work together until Howell’s retirement to ensure a smooth handover.

Commenting, Rathbones chairman Mark Nicholls said: “Under Philip’s leadership, Rathbones has firmly established itself as the leading UK wealth manager and, on behalf of the board, I would like to thank him for the strong direction, unfailing commitment and dedication he has provided to Rathbones during his tenure. The board recognises the importance of careful succession planning at Rathbones and, having worked with Paul for many years, we are delighted with his promotion to chief executive officer. Paul has built up considerable experience and a deep knowledge of the firm, its values and culture and I wish him every success as he takes on his new responsibilities.”

Sesame Bankhall makes senior management hire and multiple changes

Financial services provider Sesame Bankhall Group has promoted CFO Jim Kelly to the role of group finance director. The company also announced other changes including appointment of Ross Liston to the post of managing director of PMS and promotion of COO Martin Schultheiss to group managing director; chief risk officer and Bankhall MD Julie Sadler to group risk & compliance director; and HR & learning Director Lisa Winnard to group people and services director.

Executive chairman John Cowan commented: “In a rapidly changing market, which is alive with opportunities for advisers, we will ensure our advisory brands are strongly positioned to assist them. To help achieve this we want to maximise the expertise and talent that exists across our group, and these latest changes will enable us to do just that.”

More departures from DWS as new COO appointed

German asset management company DWS Group has promoted Mark Cullen as its new chief operating officer. He will replace Jen Eilbeck, who is stepping down from the COOrole after 19 years of service with the group. Cullen is currently the head of group audit with Deutsche Bank. The company also announced that Thorsten Michalik, head of EMEA coverage, will exit the group after 18 years with Deutsche Bank. Michalik will be succeeded by Dirk Goergen, head of sales for private clients in Germany at Deutsche’s private and commercial bank.

DWS Group CEO Asoka Woehrmann said: “I would like to thank Jon Eilbeck and Thorsten Michalik for their exceptional contributions to both DWS and Deutsche Bank over many years of service and wish them well for the future. With these changes to our executive board, we have the right leadership team in place to focus all our efforts on doing our best for our clients, our investors and our colleagues in DWS.”

Sky TV appoints new chief executive

Isleworth-based telecom company Sky TV has recruited Martin Stewart as the chief executive officer with effect from February next year. Stewart will replace John Fellet, who has worked with Sky TV for the past 17 years. Stewart was recently the CEO of Middle East pay TV firm OSN and has previously worked at telecoms group  Ono and the Football Association in senior management roles. He has also been part of the organising committee for the London Olympics.

Speaking on his appointment, Stewart said: “Sky is in a good place to take advantage of the opportunities that increased internet connectivity is offering, while retaining its important strategic position of being able to deliver content, particularly live sport, to 100 percent of the country. I’m looking forward to being part of the next phase of the Sky story.”

XPS Pensions CFO to step down

CFO Mike Ainslie of London-based pension consultancy XPS Pensions Group has announced his exit with effect from June next year. Ainslie has worked with the company as the CFO since October 2015. The company has not named a successor yet and a search for the same is underway.

The Economist CEO to step down

UK-based publisher The Economist has announced that Chief Executive Officer Chris Stibbs has stepped down from his role. Stibbs has served the company for five years and will stay with the group until a successor is found. The move follows exits of high-level executives including CTO Michael Brincat, CFO Toby Burton and group president Paul Rossi this year.


Gooch & Housego CFO set to leave next summer

Optical products company Gooch & Housego has announced that CFO Andy Boteler will be stepping down from his role in the summer of 2019. He will leave the company as part of the “managed succession process”. The company has appointed recruitment agency Warren Partners to find an appropriate successor for his role. Boteler will stay with the firm until a successor is found for a smoother transition.

Allianz unit appoints UK chief executive

Insurance company Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) has named Sinead Browne as the chief executive in the UK with effect from 1 January 2019. She is currently the chief regions and markets officer at AGCS and will succeed Brian Kirwan in her new role. Browne has been a part with Allianz since 1993 and worked at Allianz SE and Allianz Re. The company also named Tracey Hunt as the deputy CEO for AGCS UK.

Browne said: “Under Brian’s leadership AGCS UK is positioned strongly for the future. I would like to thank Brian for his contributions and we at AGCS wish him the very best for the future. I’m very pleased to welcome Tracey to the position of deputy CEO for the UK. With over 20 years’ working in insurance, her wide-ranging market experience across underwriting, broking, claims, and consultancy is an ideal fit for the role.”

AXA PPP healthcare appoints Tracy Garrad as CEO

French insurer AXA’s UK & Ireland division has appointed Tracy Garrad as the chief executive officer of its AXA PPP healthcare unit. She will take over the role on 7 January 2019 replacing Keith Gibbs, who will retire at the end of the year. Garrad has experience working with financial services groups including HSBC and First Direct in senior executive roles.

Welcoming Garrad to the group, AXA UK & Ireland CEO Claudio Gienal said: “I’m delighted that Tracy is joining AXA UK and Ireland as our new AXA PPP healthcare CEO. She brings a wealth of experience in large, complex, customer and people centric businesses and this, along with her excellent leadership skills, will further strengthen our management team. I very much look forward to working with her in the next phase for our healthcare business particularly as health continues to be a key strategic focus for the Group.”

Lacoste confirms new UK chief executive

French clothing company Lacoste has confirmed the appointment of Jamie Givens as the chief executive officer of its UK & Ireland division effective 5 October 2018. In his new role, Givens will be responsible for expanding the growth of its UK and Ireland business ensuring better positioning of the brand. Givens has worked with Levi’s for 8 years serving in senior sales and marketing roles. Before this, he has worked with brands like Dockers, Tigi, and Dim.

Native appoints hotelier as chief operating officer

UK-based aparthotel brand Native has appointed Alexandra Brunner as the chief operating officer. In her new role, she will be responsible for brand strategy as well as drive customer service, build local corporate relationships and asset maintenance. She has previously worked with Premier Inn as the area manager for three years, where she was responsible for the portfolio of 17 hotels in London. Prior to this, Brunner has worked with the Ascott Group, Jury Inns, and Doyle Collection.

“Alexandra joins Native during an exciting time of fast-paced growth for the business. We recently launched Native Bankside on the Southbank and Native Glasgow at the Anchor Line and these will be joined next year by Native Manchester at the London Warehouse,” said founder and CEO Guy Nixon.

SmartSpace Software makes board changes to accelerate growth

UK-based IT service management company SmartSpace Software has moved CFO Spencer Dredge to the role of chief operating officer to accelerate international expansion. Dredge will be replaced by Bruce Morrison, who was group finance director at Bond International Software, as the CFO effective immediately. Dredge will step down from the board and handle the divestment of the Redstone business as well as identifying and integrating new strategic acquisition opportunities.