Scottish Friendly CEO leaves for ‘new challenges’

Jim Galbraith will succeed Fiona McBain as CEO at Scottish Friendly

Glasgow-based Scottish Friendly, Scotland’s largest financial mutual, said Fiona McBain has decided to step down as chief executive after 11 years “to look for new opportunities and challenges.”

McBain will be succeeded by current deputy chief executive Jim Galbraith on January 1, 2017.

A former finance director at Scottish Friendly, McBain took over as CEO on January 1, 2006 when the group had £530 million of assets and sales of £5.5 million.

Since then, Scottish Friendly’s assets have grown to £2.5 billion and sales in 2015 were a record £25.5 million.

With McBain at the helm, Scottish Friendly developed new products and developed partnerships and outsourcing arrangements with companies including Royal London, Aviva, Standard Life and Axa Sun Life.

The mutual also grew through mergers like the 2007 takeover of Scottish Legal Life and most recently the takeover of M&GM Mutual in 2015.

“I am extremely proud of what we have achieved together at Scottish Friendly,” said McBain.

“With a great staff of less than 100 people, our strategy has reaped huge rewards in terms of assets and scale for Scottish Friendly policyholders …

“I am delighted that the board has appointed Jim Galbraith with regulatory approval to take over as CEO; he has been a key player in all aspects of our success and I know he will lead the team to continue to build the business for the benefit of Scottish Friendly’s policyholders.”

Galbraith said: “Fiona has been at the helm of Scottish Friendly through one of the most difficult periods in the history of the financial services industry.

“It is a testament to her patience, strategic vision and her ability to inspire others that over this period the Scottish Friendly Group has continued to strengthen and grow.”

Michael Walker, chairman of Scottish Friendly concluded: “We shall all miss Fiona enormously. We respect and understand her decision after 11 years in charge to look for new opportunities and challenges but we shall still miss her.

“We are delighted that Jim Galbraith, with whom Fiona has worked for so long, has agreed to become our new CEO and we are looking forward to continuing to develop the business of Scottish Friendly under his leadership.”