Barry Smith has been appointed Chief Operating Officer of Ageas Group and Andy Watson has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Ageas UK, both taking on their roles with immediate effect. 

In addition and by the beginning of April 2013, Mark Cliff will become Chief Executive Officer of Ageas Retail and Distribution and François-Xavier Boisseau will become Chief Executive Officer of Insurance, with responsibility for Ageas Insurance Limited and Groupama Insurances.

The appointments have been made to further strengthen the development of both the UK and Group wide Ageas businesses.

Barry Smith has taken on a newly created and wider role for Ageas Group reporting to Group CEO Bart De Smet.  As Chief Operating Officer, Barry is responsible for the implementation of the Group’s strategy across its global activities in the UK, Belgium, Continental Europe and Asia with the four business CEOs reporting to him.  Barry will remain on the Ageas UK Board.  The appointment recognises Barry’s significant contribution to the Group, together with his development and leadership of the UK business over the past 11 years which has seen it double in size and profitability and become a significant influence in the UK insurance market.  

Andy Watson, currently Managing Director of Ageas UK Retail, has become CEO for Ageas UK.  Andy has been with Ageas since 2010, overseeing the successful development of the Retail businesses and their increasing contribution to Ageas’s growth in the UK market.  With a wealth of experience from other insurance companies before joining Ageas, Andy has also overseen the acquisition and integration of Kwik Fit Financial Services and Castle Cover into Ageas, broadening its owned distribution capability.  As UK CEO, Andy will continue to report into Barry. 

By April 2013, Mark Cliff will become CEO of Ageas Retail and Distribution in the UK.  Mark will be responsible for all Ageas UK’s broker distribution and affinity relationships as well as Ageas’s owned distribution businesses comprising Kwik Fit Financial Services, Ageas Insurance Solutions, RIAS and Castle Cover.  This will bring all Ageas’s distribution activity together under a single leadership team.  Mark has been Managing Director of Ageas Insurance Limited since 2009, steering the company to a strong market position in its chosen product lines based on close relationships with brokers and affinity partners. 

Completing the changes within the senior management team, François-Xavier Boisseau will become Chief Executive of Ageas’s wholly owned Non-Life insurance businesses from April 2013, covering both Ageas Insurance Limited and Groupama Insurances. As CEO of Insurance, François will lead Ageas’s core capabilities in Underwriting, Pricing and Claims.  He has been CEO of Groupama Insurances since 2007 building a business in the UK market which is renowned for its tailored propositions and suite of non-standard products in both Personal and Commercial lines. 

François and Mark will report to Andy Watson.

Commenting on the appointments, Bart De Smet, Ageas Group CEO said:
“As we expand our business globally, we are delighted to appoint excellent and proven business leaders such as Barry, Andy, Mark and François to take us through the next stage of our development.  They bring talent and expertise to our Group and a track record of delivering strong results which I’m confident will continue in their new roles.  By appointing such experienced internal candidates, it is a positive reflection on the strength of Ageas’s management team as well as offering continuity and confidence to our brokers, clients and partners in the UK.”  

Barry Smith, Chief Operating Officer of Ageas Group commented:
“I’m delighted to be taking on this new role and the opportunity to work even more closely with Bart and our experienced CEOs in Europe and Asia to grow our business profitably.  Ageas is already a very strong business with a clear strategy and clear targets towards 2015, focused on the needs of our business partners and customers.  I’m looking forward to building on that client focus across our markets.” 

Andy Watson, CEO of Ageas UK added:
“It’s an exciting time for Ageas UK as we continue to expand our business and a real privilege to be leading it through the next phase of its progression.  The new roles for Mark and François reflect their expertise and experience, with François managing our growing technical capability and Mark strengthening relationships with our broker and affinity customers as well as our owned brands.  Together with Barry’s new role, the continuity within the UK and Ageas Group will be further strengthened. We also have great support from our brokers and partners in the UK and we will continue to work in genuine partnership with them.”