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Career moves including AXA and Royal London

CFOs, finance directors and other senior corporate leaders on the move in the UK and elsewhere.

AXA CFO Harlin retires as CEO pursues top management overhaul

Multinational insurance firm, AXA’s chief financial officer Gerald Harlin will be retiring at the end of the year as part of a three-year management overhaul overseen by CEO Thomas Buberl. Etienne Bouas-Laurent, current CEO of AXA Hong Kong will take on the role of deputy CFO on 1 September 2019 and succeed Harlin in 2020. Harlin has been CFO since 2010 and has held other management roles in the group since he was poached from oil company Total in 1990.

Royal London names Standard Life veteran O’Dwyer as CEO

Mutual Insurance company, Royal London has hired Barry O’Dwyer as its new chief executive. O’Dwyer will succeed Phil Loney who is to step down on 28 June 2019 but will remain to ensure efficient transition. O’Dwyer began his career at Standard Life back in 1988 and has held several senior positions during 19 years of his experience. He has also worked at HBOS and Prudential.

Commenting on his appointment, O’Dwyer said: “Royal London has capitalised on some of the big trends in our market through a winning combination of great service to intermediaries and excellent value for customers and members. I hope to build on these cornerstones of success and ensure that Royal London uses its mutual status to deliver great service and value.”

Williams Lea names new chief financial officer

Outsourcer Williams Lea has hired Dan O’Brien as its chief financial officer. O’Brien’s role includes overseeing finance, legal and compliance functions and will report to Clare Hart, the company’s CEO. Prior to this role, he served as global CFO at Sterling Talent Solutions as well as other CFO roles with Jackson Hewett, Hawaiian Telecom, Global Crossing, Genuity Corporation and GTE. Commenting upon  O’Brien’s appointment, chief executive of William Lea, Clare Hart said: “I am very pleased to have Dan on board at Williams Lea. He will play a key role in the execution of our global strategy as we increase investment in our business support technologies and operating platforms.”

River Island names former The White Company head as CEO

High street fashion brand, River Island has taken on board Will Kernan as its new CEO. Kernan will succeed the current CEO Ben Lewis, who will stay as non-executive director of the company. Kernan has held senior leadership roles at the White Company and Wiggle. He also worked at New Look as COO.

Commenting upon his appointment, Kernan said: “River Island is a British fashion stalwart, which continues to thrive in the fast-paced, multi-channel, retail environment. I have long admired the company and look forward to working with the talented and dedicated team to drive future progress.

Havas Group’s Eleni Sarla promoted to CEO of Target Group

Media company Havas Group has promoted its current chief client officer Eleni Sarla to the chief executive position of its gaming wing Target Group. She will replace the group’s founder and former CEO Rob Wilkerson who stepped own earlier this year. Sarla will look into the entire business including Target Media, Target Live, Organic and Superhero.

Commenting on Sarla’s appointment, Havas Group Media, CEO UK & Ireland, Matt Adams said: “Eleni is a true example of a hybrid leader, with amazing experience of leading client business across creative and media agencies. She is also a self-confessed culture vulture and a big supporter of the arts, making her move to head up Target Group a natural progression. I’d like to congratulate her on this very well-deserved promotion.”

 Ordnance Survey recruits new CEO

National mapping agency Ordnance Survey has recruited Steve Blair as its new chief executive. Blair brings along extensive customer, commercial experience in executive and board level roles across the technology sector.  He has also served as CEO of e2v, business group director for Spectris and non-executive director of Oxford Instruments and senior independent director.

Commenting upon his appointment, Blair said: “I am extremely proud and thrilled to be taking up the role as CEO. I am looking forward to combining my experience in technology and emerging markets with Ordnance Survey’s world leading geospatial data and expertise.”

Sweaty Betty appoints new CEO

British retailer specialising in women’s activewear, Sweaty Betty has appointed Julia Straus as its new chief executive officer. Straus will lead the retailer’s digital and international expansion. Commenting upon Straus’ appointment, Sweaty Betty founder Simon Hill-Norton said: “Julia brings exceptionally strong experience with nine years in senior leadership roles at digital pure plays. As a digital native with extensive experience in the US, we are excited to have Julia’s skills and enthusiasm to supercharge our growth in these areas and continue to drive our global expansion.

Space NK announces new CEO

Luxury beauty retailer Space NK has promoted group digital director Andy Lightfoot to the position of CEO, effective immediately. Lightfoot will report to former CEO Chris Garek who is now appointed as executive chairman.

Speaking about Lightfoot’s appointment, executive chairman Chris Garek said: “Andy’s drive and determination coupled with his leadership skills in his new role of CEO will enable Space NK UK and US to demonstrate itself as a leading omnichannel and customer centric retailer.”

New CFO appointed at AIM-Listed Keywords Studios

International video games services firm Keywords Studios has brought on board Jon Hauck as its CFO who will take up office in November 2019. The group’s current CFO David Broderick has stepped down due to personal reasons. Hauck currently serves as group financial controller and treasurer at Rentokil Initial and has held several senior leadership roles. He has also worked at PwC and is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW).

Commenting upon Jon Hauck’s appointment, chief executive of Keywords, Andrew Day said: “We are looking forward to Jon joining the Group and taking his seat on the Board of Directors. His experience at Rentokil Initial with its operations across 73 countries world-wide and its highly active M&A program will be extremely valuable to us as we continue to grow Keywords Studios both organically and by acquisition.

Former airport boss joins sports group as finance director

Health, wellness and fitness centre Aberdeen Sports Village (ASV) has hired former Aberdeen airport boss Carol Benzie has its director of finance and corporate services. Benzie has 20 years of experience in accounting and has held other senior leadership roles, she also serves as chief executive of local charity Citymoves Dance Agency.

Benzie joined Aberdeen International Airport in 2008 and was appointed managing director until she stepped down in 2018. Speaking about Carol Benzie’s appointment, ASV’s chief executive Duncan Sinclair said: “Carol has an exceptional background and strong track record of delivering large-scale and successful projects, so her expertise is a welcome addition to the team at ASV.”

Fulcrum Utility Services appoints Daren Harris as Chief Financial Officer

Infrastructure and services provider, Fulcrum Utility Services has appointed Daren Harris as chief financial officer. Harris will take up office on 24 June 2019 and has held senior finance roles in industries including construction, mechanical and electrical engineering, defence and energy services. Prior to this role, Harris served as group finance director and primary board member of The Byrne Group, a construction services provider. He also worked at NG Bailey as group finance director.

Randall & Quilter hires joint-CEOs

Insurance companies Randall & Quilter investment holdings’ chief executive Ken Randall iss stepping down as chief executive but will continue asexecutive chairman. The company has appointed Alan Quilter and Dr Roger Sellek to the newly-created positions of joint-CEO. Quilter previously served the firm as chief financial officer.

Amigo Holdings CEO stands down immediately amid medical treatment

Loan guarantor company Amigo Holdings’ chief executive Glen Crawford has stepped down with immediate effect due to personal reasons. Crawford will be succeeded by CEO-elect Hamish Paton who will take up office in July.

BII announces new COO

The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) has named Steven Alton as its new COO, effective from 30 September. At BII, Alton will develop a strategy for the future and ensure that BII can support the challenges facing licensees and staff in the hospitality sector.

BII’s Chairman Mark Robson said: “We are really pleased Steven has agreed to join the BII and being known across the industry, he is well placed to take over from Mike Clist who will continue in his full time role until late 2019. He will then continue as CEO on a part time basis until Steven feels he is in a position to take over the CEO’s role. This will ensure a smooth transition and help with the BII’s relationships with their key companies and bodies.”





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