Old Mutual appoints ex Liberty boss as CEO

Bruce Hemphill to take over from Julian Roberts

JOHANNESBURG – In a step that did little to move its share price, Old Mutual announced that former CEO of Liberty, Bruce Hemphill would succeed its current CEO, Julian Roberts “as part of an orderly succession plan”.

Hemphill, who will be a London-based executive director of the Old Mutual Group, is expected to start during the fourth quarter of 2015, the group said in a stock exchange news filing on Wednesday.

Old Mutual’s share price had risen only 0.29% by 09h30.

Hemphill, 51, is currently chief executive of wealth, insurance and non-bank financial services at Standard Bank Group, the largest African banking group by assets and earnings.

Standard Bank’s share price was up 0.71% at 09h30.

From 2006 to 2014, Hemphill was chief executive of Standard Bank subsidiary, Liberty Group, a financial services business with a separate listing on the JSE.

Roberts leaves with a bang

Old Mutual Group chairman, Patrick O’Sullivan said Hemphill brought with him “in-depth knowledge of investments, savings, insurance and banking”.

“He also has a deep understanding of the South African and wider African financial services environment. With this appointment, Old Mutual is well placed to continue its growth and further develop its strategy,” O’Sullivan said.

O’Sullivan paid tribute to Roberts’ leadership of Old Mutual, under which he said the group recovered from the challenges of the financial crisis and has “delivered a substantial increase in shareholder value”.

“It has been a great privilege to be chief executive of Old Mutual for the past seven years. During that time, a great deal has been achieved at the Group and I am very pleased that I will be leaving the company in such capable hands both in terms of the new CEO and the people who will support him,” Roberts said.

Roberts is certainly going out with a bang, having last year concluded the acquisition of UK wealth manager Quilter Cheviot; bought Intrinsic, a 3000-strong financial advisory business in the UK; and listed Old Mutual’s Asset Management business in New York.

Old Mutual also concluded various deals in the rest of Africa in 2014, including in Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana, and sold non-core European businesses.

Hemphill, who said Old Mutual is a strong international business with “excellent potential”, said he was looking forward to leading the executive team and the group in its next stage of development.

 

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