Since deciding to step down as CEO of Ageas UK last year, Andy Watson has been working closely with the executive team at Ageas Group to support the handover to his successor, who has today been named as Ant Middle. Watson joined Ageas in 2010 as MD of its retail arm, becoming CEO for Ageas UK in 2013. He is credited as having seen the business through significant changes while operating in a highly competitive market and with maintaining a significant presence in the broker and intermediated market.
Watson, who will remain with Ageas UK until the end of June 2020 to ensure a smooth and successful handover to Middle, is stepping down to embrace the next stage in his life which will include further education and the securing of a small portfolio of non-executive roles.
Speaking on his upcoming move, Watson highlighted how, along with his colleagues, he has seen the business progress, has implemented huge amounts of change and ensured that Ageas UK continues to compete in one of the most competitive insurance markets in the world. He also acknowledged the support of the business’s brokers and other trading partners in making its intermediated channel its largest.
Watson said: “It has been a privilege to be at the head of Ageas UK for over seven years. During my tenure I have been fortunate to enjoy the support of the board, the senior team and, indeed, all colleagues, and that support has always been valued and very much appreciated.”
Subject to regulatory approval, Middle will take over as CEO from June 01, 2020, and has said that he is delighted to succeed Watson and to lead Ageas in the UK. Middle, who joined Ageas as MD of partnerships in 2014, has played a pivotal role in the development of the business’s relationships in the broker and intermediated market, and also in the overseeing of the launch of Ageas as a direct brand.
“It’s a business that I’m passionate about,” Middle said, “and the last few weeks in particular have underlined why. The care and commitment our people show is what makes Ageas stand out, and I am proud to be taking over a business that is so dedicated to delivering for our customers, our brokers and partners, our shareholders and each other.”
Discussing this latest development for Ageas UK, Bart De Smet, CEO of Ageas Group said that the board welcomes Middle to the position of CEO and that, with him, the business has a leader who combines a broad background and understanding of the industry, with a familiarity with the business and strong existing relationships with brokers and partners.
“His significant leadership experience and passion for the business means he is well positioned to drive the business forward and navigate the opportunities and challenges facing the UK insurance market,” De Smet said.
He also paid tribute to Watson and said: “We are incredibly grateful to Andy for his commitment to leading the UK business over the last 10 years, in what have been very challenging market conditions. While we are very sorry to see Andy leave, we recognise the significant contribution he has made to the business and the industry as a whole. He leaves the business with our best wishes for his future endeavours.”