Experian picks chief exec as its new chairman

Marion Dakers
EXPERIAN’S chief executive is stepping into the chairman’s role from July, the firm announced yesterday, eight months after hiring headhunters to search for a new chair.

The credit checking and data services group said Don Robert will leave the chief exec post to replace Sir John Peace, who said last May that he planned to step down.

Robert has led Experian since it was spun out of GUS in 2006. It is understood that he was already considering a change of job before the board approached him about becoming chair.

Brian Cassin, who joined the firm as chief financial officer in 2012, will become chief executive, and headhunters will now begin a fresh search for a finance boss.

Investors are being consulted about the move, as required by the Financial Reporting Council’s Corporate Governance Code.

“[This] is a great solution to dealing with the retirement of Sir John Peace. We’re happy that deep company and industry expertise will be secured,” said David Herro of Harris Associates, Experian’s third-largest shareholder.

The FRC’s code states that firms can only move a chief exec to chairman in exceptional circumstances.

“Generally investors are unhappy to see chief executives moved to the chairmanship without a robust reason, and it would raise questions about succession planning within the organisation,” said Sarah Wilson, chief executive of proxy voting agency Manifest.

Experian plans to add two extra non-executive directors to ensure the board remains independent.