COO and Solvency II head step down as company seeks £100m cost savings

Paul Geddes, Direct Line

Direct Line Group (DLG) will axe 70 senior management roles under the second phase of its cost-cutting programme.

The company, which made its stock market debut two weeks ago, announced in August that is aiming for £100m of gross annual cost savings by the end of 2014.

In September, DLG announced 891 job losses and the closure of its Teesside operational centre as part of the first phase of its cost-cutting programme.

As a result of the latest changes, DLG chief operating officer Jonathan Davidson and Solvency II managing director Sheree Howard will leave the company.

Chief information officer Angela Morrison, who previously reported to Davidson, will now report to DLG chief executive Paul Geddes.

Other elements of the chief operating office that Davidson oversaw will now form part of other divisions. The strategic function will now fall under the remit of chief financial officer John Reizenstein, and property and procurement will be taken over by claims managing director Steve Maddock.

In addition, DLG’s Brand Partners affinity business will now be part of the personal lines business under the charge of personal lines managing director Tom Woolgrove.

Key elements of DLG’s Solvency II activity have been embedded in the finance and risk functions, with chief risk officer Jose Vazquez overseeing the remaining elements.

Geddes said in a statement: “Following the successful completion of our separation from RBS Group and our recent IPO, the timing is now right for us to make these changes. We are creating a simpler, more efficient business which costs less to run. As market leader, these changes are essential for us to succeed in a competitive marketplace. I don’t make these changes lightly, and we will do all we can to support those affected.”