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RSA posts profit as CFO announces departure

THE CFO of RSA Insurance is to step down, with the group appearing to have turned a corner after posting a profit.

Richard Houghton will leave the CFO role on 7 May, having served as RSA’s finance chief for three years during what has been a tumultuous period for the insurer.

In December 2013 financial irregularities were discovered in RSA’s Irish division. A series of profit warnings also saw Stephen Hester parachuted in as chief executive.

But today, alongside news of Houghton’s departure, RSA posted a pre-tax profit of £275m for 2014, from a £244m loss a year earlier. It will also restart dividend payments of two pence per share.

“Richard…has led the finance function through challenging times since [joining],” said Hester in RSA’s statement to the London Stock Exchange.

“In 2014 important advances were made, including capital raising, balance sheet clean-up and adopting a more intensive operational rhythm. As we move deeper into the delivery of RSA’s improvement plans, now is a natural point for Richard to pursue new opportunities. He will leave with our best wishes for the future.”

RSA’s profit was lower than forecast by analysts, reported The Telegraph.

“Successful disposals realised strong gains. Costs were cut and savings targets increased. However, the clean-up of past weaknesses was also expensive; and market headwinds, especially from exchange rate changes and low interest rates, are a drag on results,” Hester added.

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