Pearson departs as Giles appoints new group managing director

Giles has completed the latest in a series of management shake-ups, leading to the departure of a senior board director.

Retail managing director Howard Pearson is leaving the consolidator following three internal top-level promotions, as broken exclusively on

Operations director Sarah Lyons has moved up to group managing director and will also have a seat on the investor board, which works closely with Giles’s private equity backer, Charterhouse. She joined Giles in 2006 and will report to chief executive Chris Giles in the new role.

Pearson's role will be split between Steve Smith and Simon Brooke. They have both been promoted to Giles’s executive management team as retail managing directors with responsibility for the north and the south regions (including Wales), respectively. They will both report to Lyons.

Chris Giles said the restructure reflected the changing needs of the business as it grows organically and by acquisition. He has expressed a desire to make a transformational deal and is preparing the business for a potential flotation as early as 2011.

“By promoting Sarah Lyons, one of our most talented executives, and splitting the responsibilities of the retail MDs, the group is now positioned to assimilate and benefit from the considerable change that I expect to see in Giles over the coming months and years.”

Giles confirmed Pearson will leave the group “shortly”. He joined Giles as managing director in 2007 after it acquired the retail arm of Miller Insurance Services. In March 2009 he was added to the board of directors alongside wholesale managing director Mark Addis.

Giles non-executive chairman George Prescott, who was appointed last year, added: “Howard Pearson remains a valued and respected colleague and we wish him well in his future endeavours. I also welcome Steve and Simon to the executive management team and look forward to working with them.”

Earlier this year, the founders of Giles-owned underwriting agency Ink – Keith Syrett and Philip Thomas – quit to form a new company, Thames Underwriting.

Giles has been forced to reorganise its management team in the past, following senior departures. Among these was trading and placement director Andrew Watson, who left last year, and former managing director Michael Quinn and distribution director Leo Gibbons in 2008.

New Giles executive management team:

  • George Prescott, non-executive chairman
  • Chris Giles, chief executive
  • Paul Matson, finance director
  • Sarah Lyons, group managing director
  • Mark Addis, wholesale managing director
  • Hazel McIntyre, M&A director
  • Steve Smith, retail managing director (north)
  • Simon Brooke, retail managing director (south)