Sandy Leitch, chief executive of Zurich Financial Services, is to head the New Deal Task Force – the Government's scheme to take youngsters out of the dole queues.

He replaces another insurance man, Sir Peter Davis, who is currently the group chief executive of Sainsbury's but was more famously known as the chief of Prudential, the Man from the Pru.

The New Deal has been running for two years. Its task force provides independent advice to the Government on the policy and the delivery of the welfare to work programmes in the UK.

Leitch said: “I believe passionately that everyone deserves the opportunity to realise their full potential. The New Deal has offered hope to thousands of people across the UK and made a real difference to their lives.”