Amanda Blanc first woman in the 100 year history of the ABI to take top role

Incoming Zurich chief executive Amanda Blanc has been named the first female to chair the ABI.

Blanc, who announced she was leaving her role as chief executive of AXA UK and Ireland earlier this year, will take up the position from October.

Blanc said she was delighted to be the first woman to take up the top role in the 100 year history of the ABI, and thanked outgoing chair Andy Briggs and the rest of the board for the opportunity.

“I am proud to say I built my career in this industry,” she added. “In that time I have seen it change dramatically.

“It is now a more inclusive sector than I can ever remember, but the journey is not over. As chair I want to continue to drive the excellent work the ABI has already done in this area.

“With so much focus on the role of women in society today, I hope my appointment sends a signal to young women considering a career in insurance that there are no closed shops in this sector.  

“Insurance and long-term savings plays a vital role in the UK economy and provides peace of mind and practical help to millions of people every year.

“Rapid changes in the market, the use of technology and data and unprecedented geopolitical changes make it more important than ever that the industry can speak with a clear, single voice through the ABI.”

Important moment

Aviva UK chief executive Briggs will remain on the board as the senior independent director.   

Phil Loney, chief executive of Royal London, will become deputy chair, succeeding Paul Geddes, from Direct Line Group, who will also remain on the board. 

Briggs said it had been a privilege to serve as chair over the past two years and praised his successor Blanc.

He said: “In Amanda Blanc, the ABI has appointed someone of the highest ability, experience and drive. 

“I am very proud that the ABI has taken a leading role in promoting gender diversity over the last two years, and in appointing the first ever woman to become chair, this is an important moment for the industry.”

And Loney added: “I am pleased to have been chosen as deputy chair of the ABI and feel that this is an opportunity for continued collaboration as an industry.

“I look forward to supporting Amanda and ensuring the ABI is able to represent all parts of the insurance and long-term savings sector.”