Tuesday 26 February 2019 7:05 pm

In for a Penny: Direct Line promotes finance chief to top job

Insurer Direct Line said today it had appointed its chief financial officer Penny James to succeed Paul Geddes as chief executive with effect from 9 May.

James was appointed to Direct Line’s board in November 2017 and became finance boss in March.

Previous roles include director of group finance at Prudential, group chief finance officer of Omega Holdings and chief financial officer for UK general insurance at Zurich Financial Services.

Read more: Direct Line on track to hit targets despite fall in written premiums

James said: “I feel excited about the long-term potential of the group and confident that we will continue to deliver for our customers, our shareholders and our people."

James will receive an annual salary of £800,000 and a pension allowance of nine per cent of salary. 

She will participate in the company’s annual incentive plan up to a maximum of 175 per cent of salary and its long-term incentive plan up to 200 per cent of salary. 

Geddes will step down as a board member following the company's 9 May annual general meeting and will leave the group at the end of July 2019.

Read more: Direct Line profits take £217m hit from discount rate cut

Geddes said: "Penny’s expertise as our CFO and the breadth of experience she brings from previous roles will be invaluable as she leads the business. I’ve worked closely with Penny for over twelve months and have been impressed by her drive, energy and ambition for the group. I am pleased to be leaving the group in such experienced and capable hands."

Direct Line said it had started a search for a new chief finance officer.