Saga Plc gets new chief executive

"The time is right for someone else" at the helm

Saga Plc gets new chief executive

Insurance News

By Terry Gangcuangco

Euan Sutherland has resigned as group chief executive of Saga Plc effective November 28.

In a London Stock Exchange filing this week, the over-50s travel and insurance group said: “Following a thorough internal and external process, the board is pleased to announce that [Sutherland] will be replaced by Mike Hazell, currently group chief financial officer. Mike, in turn, will be succeeded by Mark Watkins, currently group chief corporate development officer.

“Euan informed the board of Saga earlier this year that he believed the time was right time for him to stand down, allowing for the appointment of a new CEO to take Saga onto the next phase of its development.

“After joining Saga in January 2020, Euan stabilised the business, launched a new strategy, and significantly strengthened the leadership team. He steered Saga through the COVID-19 pandemic and oversaw detailed work to strengthen the brand and identify new income streams.”

Hazell and Watkins took on their new posts with immediate effect.

“Enormous contribution”

Sir Roger De Haan, Saga’s non-executive chair, has nothing but nice words for Sutherland, who will support the leadership transition until January 31, 2024.

“I would like to thank Euan for the enormous contribution he has made to Saga since he joined the business four years ago,” the chairman stated. “His belief in the strength of the Saga brand and the talent of our people was central to everything he has done to stabilise this business and return it to profitable growth. We wish him well for the next phase of his career.”

Meanwhile the ex-CEO had this to say: “I joined Saga because I was excited about working to strengthen a unique British brand with a strong heritage, great people, and a customer cohort that was underserved. I am very proud of everything we have achieved over the past four years, particularly our work to strengthen the brand and to better serve our customers with unique products and services.

“The time is right for someone else to take Saga into the next phase of its development, and I am delighted to hand over to Mike and Mark, who I know will lead this business with passion and determination.”

New leaders  

Hazell, who brings more than two and a half decades of multi-sector experience to Saga, came on board on October 9. His credentials include time spent as Debenhams joint chief executive. Watkins, meanwhile, has held senior roles across finance, strategy, and investor relations over his 20-year career as a chartered accountant.

“Saga is a unique business, with a strong brand, a committed workforce, and an exciting future,” Hazell commented. “I am delighted to take over from Euan and will continue to deliver against the group strategy to maximise the performance of our existing businesses and reduce debt.

“I look forward to working with Mark and the rest of the executive team, the board, and all my wider Saga colleagues to take the group to the next phase of its development.” 

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