Wednesday 19 May 2021 11:50 am

City Moves: Who’s switching jobs in the Square Mile this week?

City A.M.‘s Millie Turner provides a roundup of the most important hires and job moves across the City, every Wednesday afternoon. Email to be featured.

Ex Co-op CEO joins Boomin’s board

Richard Pennycook

Property site Boomin has bagged itself a retail veteran this week, who is set to join the board as a non-executive director at its next meeting on 27 May.

Former Morrison Supermarkets chief financial officer, Richard Pennycook CBE, joins the digital-first property site after riding the online shopping wave in the retail sector.

Once CEO of the Co-operative group, Pennycook has been at the forefront of the retail transition to online.

“I have experienced first-hand the digital retail revolution and how important it is for every industry to adapt and change, to innovate, to break new ground,” Pennycook said.

The incoming non-executive director has also chaired The Hut Group for six years, as well as department store Fenwicks and The British Retail Consortium. Meanwhile, Pennycook is currently chairman of Howden Joinery Group.

“Richard brings both deep retail knowledge and significant board experience to Boomin to support our planned rapid growth,” chairman Stephen Murphy said.

In recognition of his services to retail, Pennycook was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours list last year.  

“We are building out a powerful team of the highest calibre… Richard’s exceptional career at the forefront of British retail makes him ideally suited to help us execute on our strategy,” CEO and founder of Boomin, Michael Bruce, said.

Sage hires Microsoft veteran as CFO

Walid Abu-Hadba

Cloud business management firm Sage has poached a Microsoft and Oracle veteran this week to bolster its product innovation.

Joining immediately as chief product officer, Walid Abu-Hadba brings over 30 years of technology industry experience, with two decades experience with Microsoft.

Once corporate vice president at Microsoft, Abu-Hadba is set to build on the growth of Sage Business Cloud, ensuring the company continues to solution innovation.

Abu-Hadba then joined software firm Ansys as chief product officer but was most recently senior vice president at Oracle Developer Tools.

The incoming chief product office holds several senior board advisor roles in the tech sector and patents in the field of Artificial Intelligence. Abu-Hadba will work closely with chief technology officer Aaron Harris.

“I have watched Sage with interest for several years…My focus will be on driving product strategy and innovation that both differentiates us from our competitors and delights our customers,” Abu-Hadba said.

HSBC boosts institutional team with new director

Jasvir Virk

HSBC Asset Management has hired a new business development director for its UK institutional team, based in the capital, who joined the bank on 10 May.

With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Jasvir Virk will be responsible for deepening the firm’s relationships with UK institutional investors, focusing on UK pension schemes.

Reporting to institutional sales head Maria Ryan, Virk joins from global asset and investment management firm BlackRock, where she was a senior director.

Before BlackRock, Virk was head of client relations in Europe at PineBridge Investments, working with both institutional and intermediary clients across the continent.

The incoming director has also held several roles at Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

“Jasvir brings a wealth of experience working with some of the largest and most sophisticated clients in the UK. Her background in both traditional and alternative markets will be invaluable as we continue to broaden our offering to the UK institutional market,” Ryan said.

Goldman Sachs hires stewardship head

Jen Sisson

Goldman Sachs Asset Management has hired a new head of stewardship for its EMEA markets, who will join the City-based firm in June.

Reporting to global head of stewardship Catherine Winner, Jen Sisson joins from the UK Financial Reporting Council (FRC) after four years.

Most recently deputy director of stakeholder engagement and corporate affairs, following a year as chief of staff at the FRC, Sission has been responsible for coordinating the global investment outreach.

CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management International, Fadi Abuali, said that environment, social and governance (ESG) matters will be at the top of Sisson’s agenda.

The CEO added that: “Jen’s expertise will be of great benefit to our clients as we continue our…efforts on critical topics such as climate transition.”

Sisson led policy outreach on ESG, audit and reporting matters including the creation of the 2020 UK Stewardship Code and the 2018 UK Corporate Governance Code at the FRC.

Prior to that, the newly appointed head was part of PwC’s global investor engagement team.

“Jen has extensive experience in company engagement and will be a valuable addition to our stewardship team,” Winner said.   

Ex-Equiniti and RBS COO joins Personal Group

Liam McGrath

Employee benefits and services provider Personal Group has hired a new chief operating officer, who will step into the role on 24 May.

Liam McGrath will also be appointed to the board on the same date if approved by the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority.

Holding several COO and senior operations positions across his career, McGrath has experience with both private and public companies within the financial, insurance and technology sectors.

Once spending five years as COO of outsourcing business Equiniti, McGrath’s previous roles also include head of lending operations at Royal Bank of Scotland, and COO at Advanced Computer Software Group, which provides IT services to the NHS.

“His substantial experience ranges across all the different aspects of our group, including a deep knowledge of the insurance market, and we are sure it will be incredibly valuable in supporting our expansion plans,” CEO Deborah Frost said.