Phoenix board changes as chair becomes Lord Mayor

Phoenix Group-Standard Life office in Lothian Road, Edinburgh

Closed life and pension fund consolidator Phoenix Group Holdings plc, owner of the “old” Standard Life Assurance, announced some big board changes on Wednesday.

Senior independent director Alastair Barbour will assume the role of interim chairman from September 1, 2022, while chairman Nicholas Lyons takes a sabbatical to take up the role of Lord Mayor of the City of London beginning in November for a one-year term.

Karen Green will succeed Barbour as senior independent director after Phoenix Group’s 2022 Annual General Meeting on May 5, 2022.

Further, NatWest Group chief financial officer Katie Murray will become an independent non-executive director of Phoenix Group on April 1, 2022.

“As was previously noted in a press release dated 6 July 2021, Phoenix Group’s chairman, Nicholas Lyons, has been nominated for the prestigious role of Lord Mayor of the City of London beginning in November 2022 for a one-year term,” said Phoenix.

“The board is delighted that its chairman has been recognised in this way and has planned accordingly to enable him to take-up this full-time role.

“It is therefore planned that Mr Lyons will take a sabbatical from Phoenix Group commencing 1 September 2022 and will then return to his roles as chairman of the board of directors and chairman of the nomination committee in November 2023, subject to regulatory approval.

“To promote clarity of leadership during his sabbatical, Mr Lyons will formally resign from his roles on the board for the period of his sabbatical.

As a result, the board has agreed that, subject to regulatory approval, Alastair Barbour, currently the group’s senior independent director, will assume the role of interim chairman from 1 September 2022 for the term of Mr Lyons’ sabbatical.

“The board believes that not only is Mr Barbour the best appointee for this interim role, but also that his longstanding knowledge and commitment to Phoenix will ensure a consistent approach to board matters.

The board has also agreed that, subject to regulatory approval, Karen Green will succeed Alastair Barbour as senior independent director beginning after the conclusion of Phoenix Group’s 2022 Annual General Meeting on 5 May 2022.

“Ms Green is the chair of the Board Sustainability Committee and the Designated Non-Executive Director for Workforce Engagement.

The board is also pleased to announce the appointment of Katie Murray as an independent Non-Executive Director with effect from 1 April 2022.

“Katie is the Group Chief Financial Officer of the NatWest Group, a position she has held since January 2019, having joined NatWest as Director of Finance in November 2015.

“She is a director of NatWest Group plc. Katie has worked in Finance and Accounting for over 30 years.

“She was previously the Group Finance Director for Old Mutual Emerging Markets, based in Johannesburg from 2011 to 2015, having held various roles across Old Mutual since 2002.

“Prior to that, she worked at KPMG for 13 years.

“Katie is a Chartered Accountant, having trained in Scotland and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.”

Lyons said: “I am very grateful that the board, our regulators and our major investors have been so supportive of my accepting the full-time, one year role of Lord Mayor of the City of London, commencing in November 2022, and I look forward to having the opportunity to help promote the UK’s world-leading financial and professional services sectors and London as the pre-eminent global financial centre.

The board has planned thoughtfully for this situation and I am delighted that our Senior Independent Director, Alastair Barbour, is to be appointed as interim chairman during my sabbatical.

“Alastair has been at Phoenix Group for over eight years now and has substantial chairing experience and technical skills, all of which make him the ideal candidate for this role.

“I am also delighted that Karen Green is to be appointed as our new Senior Independent Director to succeed Alastair.

“I know she will provide excellent support to both Alastair and me.

I am also very pleased that Katie Murray will be joining the Phoenix Group Board and we look forward to her bringing her wealth of experience to the group.

“Katie brings deep finance and accounting skills built through her experience at a senior executive level across both the banking and insurance sectors, as well as her earlier private practice background.”