New finance and operations heads at MGA Thistle

JLT has hired Rob Styring as financial director of its managing general agent, Thistle Insurance Services, and Anita Watson as chief operating officer, Insurance Times has learned.

Watson has joined from Oval, where she was managing director for operations. At Oval she was responsible for implementing service delivery frameworks across 900 staff and 19 offices.

At Thistle she will be responsible for ensuring the board delivers on its strategic and operational priorities.

Styring joined after nine years at Towergate, and was most recently financial director of its consumer SME and specialist personal lines business Towergate Direct. Towergate has not yet appointed a replacement.

JLT announced in July that Thistle had made a trading loss of £1.3m in the first half of 2013 (H1 2012: trading profit of £100,000), despite a 2% increase in revenue to £15.4m.

It specialises in SME insurance and put the decline down to exposure to the UK high street. At the time group commercial director James Twining said JLT remained commited to Thistle and was investing in “new capabilites and technology”.

Thistle chief executive Paul Matthews said today: “These appointments highlight the growth and ambition of Thistle; both Anita and Rob are hugely respected in the industry and their knowledge and experience will strengthen our offering.

“Both share my vision for Thistle and I believe that these appointments demonstrate the investment we are making in highly talented people.”

Thistle has made four further appointments to its management and sales teams. Karen Percy has been recruited to develop broker-facing Thistle Underwriting from NIG and Lois Downey has joined from Towergate as head of sales and service, where she will be responsible for improving its call centre.

Sarah Wills has joined from Giles and Rob Faulkner from Aviva to develop Thistle’s products and improve relationships with its key trading partners.

Matthews added: “The recruitment of key members of our operational and sales teams will bring the right drive and focus to our sales and help drive our future growth.”