Direct Line rings in the changes by poaching Prudential risk chief as new finance head

Oliver Gill
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Direct Line has nabbed the woman from the Pru (Source: Getty)

Insurer Direct Line has nabbed a top executive from Prudential to be its new finance chief.

Penny James will succeed John Reizenstein as Direct Line's chief financial officer, formally starting the job in March next year.

James is currently the Pru's chief risk officer, having previously worked in a number of positions in the insurance sector. She has also held the role of non-executive director at one of Direct Line's biggest rivals, Admiral.

The pair will work together, with James joining as a board director in November. James said she had "long admired [Direct Line] for its clear vision, customer focus and strong market position".

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Meanwhile, Direct Line chief exec Paul Geddes revealed mixed emotions at the news.

I am delighted that Penny is joining Direct Line Group. At the same time, I will be sad to see John leave. He has been instrumental in leading Direct Line Group through a transformational period – from a division of a bank [Royal Bank of Scotland], through a successful IPO, to being an independent listed company.

Reizenstein, who has been Direct Line's top beancounter for seven years, plans to pursue a career as a non-executive director.

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