FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hastings Group Holdings plc (the "Company")
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of the Market Abuse Regulation.
9 January 2018
The Company today announces changes to its Board.
Mike Fairey, who joined the business in June 2015, has notified the Board that he has decided to retire as Chairman and will step down from the Board at the Company's Annual General Meeting (AGM) in May 2018.
Gary Hoffman, who joined the business as Group Chief Executive Officer in November 2012, will take over the role of Non-Executive Chairman when Mike steps down.
Toby van der Meer, who joined the business in June 2011 and has been Managing Director of the Company's UK trading subsidiary, Hastings Insurance Services Limited, will be appointed to the Company's Board with effect from 1 March 2018 and will take over the role of Chief Executive Officer as of that date. In the period between Toby's appointment and his appointment as Chairman, Gary Hoffman will remain on the Board as an executive director.
Tom Colraine, who has been Senior Independent Director since appointment in September 2015, will replace Mike Fairey as chairman of the Company's Nomination Committee with effect from 1 March 2018. Tom will also continue his existing role as chairman of the Company's Audit Committee.
Mike Fairey was appointed as Chairman to guide the Company through its IPO in October 2015, and its early years as a listed entity, and to establish a strong Board to underpin the Company's future growth and development. Mike believes that, having successfully achieved those objectives, and with no formal timeframe having been set for his tenure, it is now the right time for him to step down. Gary Hoffman had previously indicated to the Board that there would come a time in the not too distant future when he would look to step down from his role as Chief Executive Officer.
Succession planning has been high on the Board's agenda as it seeks to sustain the Company's growth and development. The Board has prioritised various considerations as part of the succession process, including continuity and stability, whilst also balancing the needs of strong independent governance and effective strategic leadership. Gary Hoffman has been a key individual in the Company's success, not only in the years leading up to the IPO, but in the period since which has seen eight successive quarters of profitable growth and an 83% increase in the Company's share price. The Board therefore regard retaining Gary's services as critical to the Company's continued success.
Toby van der Meer emerged as the leading candidate for succession to the role of Chief Executive, following a rigorous profiling and search process including full evaluation of potential internal and external candidates using specialist consultants. He has played a pivotal role in the significant growth and development of the Group's retail business over the past six years and is a well-respected leader within the organisation.
The Board is aware of the provisions of the UK Corporate Governance Code (the "Code") but, after full and careful consideration, the directors were unanimous that Gary Hoffman's transition from Chief Executive Officer to Chairman would be in the long term best interests of the Company and all of its shareholders.
Gary is a proven strategic leader and has extensive experience of chairing Boards and Committees, notably as Vice-Chairman of Barclays PLC, having previously been Chairman of UK Banking and Barclaycard at Barclays, and most recently as Non-Executive Chairman of VISA Europe.
Tom Colraine's appointment as chairman of the Company's Nomination Committee, and the fact that Gary Hoffman will not become a member of any of the Board's Committees, maintains the Company's approach to strong independent governance and oversight. The Board has satisfied itself that Tom will continue to be able to allocate sufficient time to discharge his responsibilities effectively.
Following the implementation of these changes, the composition of the Company's Board and its Committees will continue to meet the independence requirements of the Code, other than the Chairman not being independent on appointment.
Mike Fairey said: "It has been a pleasure to serve as Chairman of the Company and to oversee its early years as a publicly listed company. I feel the time is now right for me to step down and I am confident the proposed changes to the Board will leave the Company in very safe hands to enable its continued success for the benefit of all stakeholders."
Toby van der Meer said: "It has been an incredible journey so far and I am honoured to be asked to be CEO of the Hastings Group. I am proud of what the team has achieved so far and feel very confident about our trajectory and the continued growth and diversification opportunities ahead of us."
The Company continues to deliver against its strategy and targets and will announce its results for the year ended 31 December 2017 on 1 March 2018.
For further information, please contact:
Group Company Secretary
Director of Investor Relations
T: +44 (0)1424 738011 email@example.com
+44 (0) 207 427 1418