Maintaining Standard

This is a big new year for Jackie Hunt, the interim CFO at Standard Life.
Though, the company is engaged in a formal recruitment process to find a new
finance chief, Hunt begins 2010 with a great opportunity to experience life in
the finance hot seat.

What’s happened?

For Hunt, who only joined the business at the beginning of 2009 from Norwich
Union Insurance where she was CFO, the appointment comes at a time of great
change in pensions and will provide an understanding of board machinations while
her boss David Nish gets to grips with his new CEO role.

Hunt’s appointment is the latest in a trend of pension company FD moves,
including Evelyn Bourke, who joined Friends Provident earlier this year from
Standard Life, where she had worked alongside Nish. Bourke and her CEO at
Friends, Trevor Matthews, both hail from Standard Life where they worked until
mid-2008 and were both also on the list of names for the CEO job; Bourke in
particular was said to be well liked by analysts.

The number of moves among pension company FDs of late may make the task of
recruiting a head of finance harder for Standard Lifer, given that it has taken
a handful of key names off the market – which may strengthen Hunt’s case if she
is angling to remain in the group FD role beyond an interim period.

A South African, Hunt qualified as a chartered accountant with Deloitte
before moving to its New Zealand practice and then onto PwC’s global capital
markets group, with whom she worked in New York, Zurich and London. She joined
Royal & Sun Alliance’s capital management team in 1999 where she worked
before joining Aviva in 2003. At Aviva she had a number of finance roles,
including group FD of Irish car insurance business, Hibernian, and director of
group financial reporting, before joining Norwich Union Insurance in 2007 as

What happens next?

Hunt’s appointment as deputy FD at Standard Life was announced last September
and she took up the role on 6 January this year. The interim role puts her, for
a time at least, among the handful of female FDs in the FTSE-100, alongside
Friends’ Bourke, Burberry’s Stacey Cartwight, Cairn Energy’s Jann Brown and 3i’s
Julia Wilson.

In hindsight, it could seem as though Hunt’s arrival at the business at the
start of 2009 heralded the beginning of a grooming process for Nish’s possible
promotion. She is Standard Life’s first deputy FD and at the time the company
said her appointment would allow Nish to focus on broader strategic issues as
she would take over responsibility for external financial reporting, its
performance management, tax and finance shared services operation (though Nish
remained firmly in charge of risk management). Nish called the appointment

This article first appeared in our sister publication Financial Director
magazine where Melanie Stern is editor.

Related reading