Search being conducted internally and externally for new SME head

RSA’s UK director of SME and delegated business Tara Kneafsey is leaving the insurer to join consumer loans firm Wonga as its UK managing director.

Kneafsey follows in the path of former RSA group chief executive Andy Haste, who became Wonga’s chairman in July.

Haste said: “Tara has a strong customer focus, a wealth of experience in financial services and a proven record in putting businesses on the right track. She will be instrumental in returning Wonga to its original vision - providing short-term loans to the right customers in a responsible and transparent way.

“Her appointment marks a major step in the changes we are making to the Group.”

Kneafsey said: “I am pleased to be joining Wonga at such a pivotal time for its UK business. There is undoubtedly a genuine demand for short-term credit, a demand which Wonga originally met through a combination of innovation and flexibility. However it is clear the business needs to evolve significantly to become an accepted part of the financial services landscape”.

It is understood that RSA UK commercial managing director Jon Hancock has begun searching internally and externally for Kneafsey’s replacement.

The news coincides with the departure of UK global speciality lines director Paul Greensmith to Lloyd’s insurer Catlin.

Hancock said: “I’d like to thank both Paul and Tara for their dedication and commitment to the business over the years and being valued members of the commercial executive team. I wish them both the very best of luck in their new roles.