Seamless First Link Succession as continuity strategy goes to work

06 December 2006 Clear Distinction

First Link, the nationally represented short-term insurance broker, has announced several changes to its senior executive tier following the successful implementation of its management succession strategy.

First Link is the short-term insurance broking arm of the FirstRand financial services group.

Keith Young, who retires after 40 years in the industry has taken on the new role of Non-Executive Chairman of the Operating Company. As Managing Director, Young led the brokers programme of strategic expansion, achieving growth in all significant business segments.

The position of Peet van der Walt as Non-Executive Chairman of the Holding Company is unaffected by the management changes.

Keith Youngs successor as First Link Managing Director is Barry Taylor, who previously headed the Commercial segment of the business and assumes his new position on 1 January 2007.

Andrew Coutts has been named Managing Director Commercial. He previously held the post of Financial Director.

Developments in the senior tier have led to several additional promotions and role adjustments in other parts of the company as succession planning at First Link strongly endorses the need to develop and retain internal talent.

Keith Young commented: "The need for robust succession planning has been acknowledged at First Link for some time. The strategy evolved following detailed and extensive debate and interviews involving myself, senior members of First Link and representatives of our shareholder, FirstRand.

"Three key principles were identified -  the need to achieve the First Link vision based on delivery and differentiating ourselves through Unequalled Service, continuity of Vision, Strategy and Culture and thirdly the strategic imperative of continued growth and operational success.

"Respect for these principles has ensured a seamless succession process. There has been zero disruption and total buy-in from our industry associates, FirstRand group colleagues and staff members nationwide. I am confident Barry Taylor and his team will go from strength to strength."

In addition to changes to the senior management tier, several adjustments have been made in key support functions, including:

Lindsay Gracie takes full responsibility for the First Link IT Division; 
Trevor Fourie takes charge of legal, risk and compliance matters (both report directly to Barry Taylor);
Johannesburg-based admin support functions will report to the Financial Director (whose appointment is soon to be announced).
The succession plan has been presented to First Link staff members during a tour of the national branch network by Keith Young and Barry Taylor.



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