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ABI creates president, independent chair roles as part of board overhaul

ABI creates president, independent chair roles as part of board overhaul | Insurance Business UK

ABI creates president, independent chair roles as part of board overhaul

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has revamped its board, creating new posts such as president and independent chair.

Royal London group chief executive Barry O’Dwyer became ABI’s first-ever president on July 01, along with Admiral Group UK CEO Cristina Nestares who took on the deputy president position. Their remit spans stakeholder engagement and public-facing industry leadership, as well as leading internally.

“It is a privilege to have been trusted by colleagues across the industry to take up the position of president and represent the sector on the big challenges we face,” commented O’Dwyer.

“Whether it is making our sector more diverse, freeing our opportunities to invest in the future through Solvency II reform, customer reforms to improve trust, or leading the race to net zero, we must lift our ambitions and work closely with Government and regulators on the challenges ahead.”

As part of the overhaul, the ABI is looking to appoint an independent chair and an independent non-executive director (NED) in the autumn. Additionally, the trade body has formed a new board-level reputation and customers committee.

“These changes will enrich our board with new independent perspectives while ensuring industry leaders continue to be the voice of the sector in discussions with governments and regulators,” stated ABI board chair and outgoing Allianz Holdings boss Jon Dye, who will continue to chair board meetings alongside deputy chair Julian Adams until the independent chair’s arrival.

“Given the sheer range of challenges the insurance and long-term savings sector faces,” he continued, “our board has to operate more effectively than ever before. The appointment of the independent chair and NED will bring valuable insights and help mitigate the risk of group-think.

“At the same time, we know many senior stakeholders hugely value dealing direct from experienced industry leaders, and we are delighted to announce Barry and Cristina as the ABI’s first president and deputy president. They bring a wealth of expertise as we face into major issues including improving customer trust and reputation and tackling climate change.”

Nestares, meanwhile, is “excited” to work with O’Dwyer, the new independent chair, and the board. Citing the “big agenda” in front of them, she said: “We must ensure our sector continues to deliver for customers, and is the destination of choice for the brightest and the best talent. We have a lot of work ahead but I can’t wait to get started.” 

The trade body’s constitution will be amended to reflect the board reforms.

“I would like to put on record again my thanks to Jon Dye and Julian Adams, who have led the ABI’s board with such vision, commitment, and sure-footed skill over the past two eventful years,” declared director general Huw Evans. “We are all very grateful to them.”