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Board change

CFO McConville steps down at Phoenix as Briggs takes helm

Standard Life house

Phoenix is based in Standard Life House

Jim McConville, group finance director and group director Scotland at zombie funds company Phoenix Group, will be standing down on 15 May following the AGM and after eight years with the business.

He will be succeeded by Rakesh Thakrar, currently his deputy.

Mr McConville joined Phoenix in June 2012. During his tenure he has been a core member of the management team that has transformed the Phoenix Group.

He is credited with significantly strengthening its balance sheet, establishing a tradition of meeting or exceeding all its financial targets, and helping to deliver the group’s transformative acquisitions of Standard Life Assurance in 2018 and the proposed acquisition of ReAssure Group, announced last December.

His group director Scotland responsibilities will transfer to Susan McInnes, CEO Standard Life Assurance and group director, Open business.

Mr Thakrar is a qualified accountant and has been a long-serving member of the Phoenix Group, originally joining in 2001. He has been Mr McConville’s deputy since 2014 and has been a member of the Phoenix Life Board since 2018.

Nick Lyons, chairman said: “Jim’s authority and confidence have been a cornerstone of Phoenix’s success in recent years and it is a mark of the man that he has helped prepare and develop his successor.

“The board believes that Rakesh is a remarkable talent, with a deep and broad understanding of our business and its potential. He will form a perfect complement to our CEO-designate Andy Briggs, with whom he has already been working on strategic planning.”

Jim McConville: “I am truly proud of my time at Phoenix and all we have achieved and I am delighted to be handing over the reins to Rakesh. He will serve this business well as it now has the opportunity to capitalise on its enormous strengths. I wish Andy, Rakesh and all the team every success.”

Andy Briggs, who becomes CEO of Phoenix Group from Tuesday 10 March said: “Phoenix has a reputation for growing its own timber, so it is no surprise that a candidate of Rakesh’s calibre is ready to become CFO.

“Rakesh has a profound understanding of the Life and Pensions business and the M&A expertise for which Phoenix is well known. I am looking forward to working closely with him.”

Mr Briggs has been CEO-designate since joining the group in January.

The company announced group operating profit of £810 million in 2019 (2018: £708m).

The board has proposed a final dividend of 23.4p per share (2018 final dividend: 23.4p per share) with 2019 a full year dividend of 46.8p per share (2018 full year dividend (46p per share).

Assets under administration grew to £248 billion as at 31 December 2019 (2018: £226bn).

The £3.2bn acquisition of ReAssure Group is on track to complete mid-2020.

Group CEO Clive Bannister said: “Phoenix has had a strong year – we beat our cash generation target, made significant progress in the transition of Standard Life Assurance and announced the £3.2 billion acquisition of ReAssure.

“With circa £0.5 billion of incremental cash generation delivered from new business written in the year, we have demonstrated that our Open businesses and BPA bring sustainability to Phoenix, offsetting the run-off of our in-force business.

“I am extremely proud of the evolution of Phoenix during my time as CEO and I would like to thank all of the colleagues I have worked with throughout to deliver benefits to both our customers and shareholders.”

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