Who is the face of the business – and who should be? That’s a difficult question all insurers and brokers must ask themselves
This week, Dane Douetil - who was practically synonymous with Brit, the insurer he has run since 2005 –
is to depart, six months after the completion of the sale of the business.
No one’s saying why Douetil is leaving, but it’s a fair bet that the new private equity backers wanted one thing and he wanted another. His face no longer fit.
The major brokers have been grappling with the same question. Think of Towergate, and you think of Peter Cullum and Andy Homer, right? Well, not anymore, because the chief executive is now Mark Hodges. Changing that perception internally and externally is going to be number one on his very long to-do list.
And so we come to RBSI. As we reveal this week, it has taken one step closer to an IPO in the second half of next year with its first presentation to financial analysts. RBSI has confirmed that it will not go in one tranche.
(Incidentally, this was predicted in these pages by Ben Dyson’s investigation into the insurer’s flotation some months ago.)
But who is the face of RBSI? And no, it can’t be a red telephone or a nodding dog.
Paul Geddes, the insurer’s chief executive, has a strong record in banking, retailing and marketing, but far less experience in insurance or running a listed business. He has also kept a pretty low profile, despite a fairly noisy entrance to the role in 2009.
When it comes to flotation, the attention of the market and its analysts will be focused on the individual leading the business. Is Geddes the right leader to take RBSI to flotation? He has several months to convince the markets.