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Annette has extensive experience as a CEO of major insurers – Direct Line Group and Zurich FS. She is currently Chairman of Admiral Insurance and has worked across Europe including Eastern Europe. She has a strong technology background with a record of using e-commerce to drive commercial success. She has developed major brands with a strong consumer focus. She also has experience of M&A, partnerships, joint ventures and restructuring, although she has had most fun in growing businesses. Above all she enjoys working with people of varying backgrounds, cultures and experiences.
She has delivered competitive advantage in businesses using a strong focus on customers and developing teams that were able to achieve results that they didn’t realise were possible. She is a big believer in learning by doing, pragmatism and continuous personal learning.
Annette started her career at IBM as a systems engineer in the banking and insurance sectors. After 11 years she joined one of her clients, Direct Line. She helped shape this fast-growing business in changing the face of the insurance industry, eventually becoming CEO of Direct Line Group in 2001 at the age of 39. She also became a member of the RBS Group Executive Committee. She led the acquisition of Churchill insurance in 2003, forming RBS Insurance, with a workforce of around 18,000 people across the UK, Spain, Germany and Italy. Subsequently she joined Zurich FS as the CEO of their European general insurance business spanning 11 countries across Europe. She is now pursuing a portfolio career and is Chairman of Admiral Insurance as well as the Remuneration Committee Chair at Sage Group.
Annette studied engineering at Oxford University and completed an executive education programme at Harvard Business School. She is currently learning Italian as she is a lover of Italy. She has two young children that keep her on her toes. She is keen on arts and sport, and is particularly passionate about tennis. She also works in the charity sector with StreetGames.
“Sometimes leaders who have been given greater responsibility feel that the onus is on them to be more directive and to show how much knowledge they have about something, rather than encouraging their people to come up with ideas.”
“I found my mentor very practical, with deep executive experience coupled with a great approach to problem solving. The mentoring process has helped me to achieve greater clarity, has challenged my thinking and broadened my views in many areas.”