Phoenix makes Edinburgh change as profit rises

Phoenix Group offices in Edinburgh's Lothian Road

Closed life and pension fund consolidator Phoenix Group Holdings plc, owner of Edinburgh-based Standard Life Assurance, announced on Monday that Jim McConville, group finance director and group director Scotland, will stand down in May.

McConville’s group director Scotland responsibilities will transfer to Susan McInnes, CEO Standard Life Assurance and group director, open business.

He will be succeeded as group finance director by Rakesh Thakrar, current deputy group finance director, subject to appropriate regulatory and shareholder approvals.

The move came as Phoenix Group reported a rise in annual profit as its business of buying and operating corporate pension schemes benefited from British companies rushing to offload risk in the run up to Brexit. 

Phoenix said its group operating profit rose to £810 million in 2019 from £708 million in 2018 and assets under administration rose to £248 billion from £226 billion.

Phoenix said in a statement: “During his tenure he (McConville) has been a core member of the management team that has transformed the Phoenix Group, significantly strengthening its balance sheet, establishing a tradition of meeting or exceeding all its financial targets, and helping to deliver the group’s transformative acquisitions of Standard Life Assurance in 2018 and the proposed acquisition of ReAssure Group plc, announced last December.”

Phoenix Group chairman Nick Lyons said: “Jim’s authority and confidence have been a cornerstone of Phoenix’s success in recent years and it is a mark of the man that he has helped prepare and develop his successor.

“The board believes that Rakesh is a remarkable talent, with a deep and broad understanding of our business and its potential.

“He will form a perfect complement to our CEO-designate Andy Briggs, with whom he has already been working on strategic planning.”

Briggs becomes CEO of Phoenix Group on March 10, having been CEO-designate since joining the group in January 2020.