Mike has almost 40 years’ experience of the UK and international financial services sector. He is Chairman of Resolution Limited, the FTSE 100 UK life assurance business, a role he will retain, and has previously acted as Chief Executive Officer and Group Finance Director of Resolution plc, and Group Finance Director of Aviva plc.
Mike was a key member of the senior management team that demutualised and subsequently floated Norwich Union on the London Stock Exchange in 1997, and merged Norwich Union with Commercial General Union to create CGNU in 2000.
Andrew Palmer, who has been serving as interim chairman of Direct Line Group, will remain on the board, alongside Jane Hanson, as an Independent Non-Executive director.
Stephen Hester, Chief Executive, RBS Group, said: “We are delighted to appoint Mike as Chairman of Direct Line Group. He brings with him extensive insurance industry experience and a successful track record in flotations in this sector.
"The successful divestment of Direct Line Group is one of our priorities and we have confidence that Mike will help us get this done. The business has been doing well and is increasingly ready to flourish as an independent company. I am very grateful to Andrew Palmer for acting as interim Chairman, and delighted that we will retain his experience on the board."
Paul Geddes, Chief Executive Officer, Direct Line Group, said: "I warmly welcome Mike's appointment and look forward to the prospect of working with him in the exciting period that lies ahead for this business.
"Following the completion of the first phase of Direct Line Group's transformation and the major profits turnaround, we will benefit greatly from Mike’s experience as we lead the business into the next phase of its transformation and a separate future," he added.
The base case plan for RBS Group is to divest Direct Line Group by way of a public flotation, targeted to commence in the second half of 2012, subject to market conditions. The European Commission requires RBS Group to cede control of Direct Line Group by 31 December 2013, and to sell its entire shareholding by 31 December 2014.