CPP chairman to quit after guiding group through tough period

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The chairman of troubled credit card insurance firm CPP is to step down from his role after “supporting the group during a period of immense challenge”.

Charles Gregson, who was appointed non-executive chairman of the York-based firm in January 2010, will remain in post until a successor is found.

In a statement yesterday morning, CPP said: “(Charles) has been instrumental in supporting the group during a period of immense challenge and much change. The group has been well served during his four-year tenure and the board wishes to express its sincere thanks to Charles for his service, leadership and guidance.”

Mr Gregson, who also chairs broker Icap and wealth manager St James’s Place, added: “2013 has been an important year of progress, challenge and change. The foundations have been laid to stabilise the business and we have in place a strong and experienced board and management team.

“It is, therefore, appropriate for me to step down in due course and hand over to a successor who will guide the group through the next phase of its development.

“I am especially grateful for the strong support that I have received from my board colleagues over the years and thank everyone at CPP for their ongoing hard work.”

CPP said yesterday it had increased the amount it has set aside to compensate customers over mis-selling by a further £10 m to £68.5m.

The company has been writing to customers who were sold and renewed around 23 million policies, after regulators found it gave misleading and unclear information about credit card and identity theft insurance.

Earlier this year, it agreed a compensation deal where seven million customers could share up to £1.3bn following a mis-selling scandal which ran from 2005 to 2011.

During that period, CPP sold 4.4 million policies and renewed almost 19 million.

Of the 4.4 million, it is believed that only around 300,000 were sold directly by CPP, while lenders were responsible for around 4.1 million.

Many customers were sent new bank cards which they had to activate by going through a CPP call centre, where they were offered insurance. The group said it is committed to a “fair and reasonable outcome” for customers.

CPP said its operating environment continues to be challenging and the group’s performance for 2013 remains in line with previous guidance.

The group said it remains focused on realigning the business model and cost-base whilst successfully completing the proposed Scheme of Arrangement to review claims and, where appropriate, pay redress to cust- omers.

It said: “Progress is being made by the new leadership team developing the group’s longer-term strategy, details of which will be communicated with the group’s 2013 preliminary results and the process of improving the operational capability and controls required to return the group to a position of stability and stren- gth.

As part of the restructuring process, Brent Escott joined CPP as interim deputy chief executive last June. He subsequently became chief executive.

He previously ran the commercial insurance business of Capita and has also worked for Brit Insurance and Club Direct.

The process saw Paul Stobart, chief executive, and Shaun Parker, chief financial officer, step down from their respective roles.