Std Bank’s Bruce Hemphill takes over at Old Mutual, Roberts quits

By Tom Beardsworth, Sarah Jones and Renee Bonorchis

(Bloomberg) — Old Mutual Plc’s Julian Roberts is stepping down as chief executive officer of Africa’s biggest insurer and will be replaced by Standard Bank Group Ltd.’s Bruce Hemphill.Bruce Hemphill

Roberts, 57, is resigning after almost seven years leading the London-based company, and will stay on until the fourth quarter of this year, Old Mutual said in a statement Wednesday. Hemphill, 51, head of wealth, insurance and non-bank financial services at Standard Bank in Johannesburg, will be an executive director of Old Mutual and based in London until he takes over, it said. Hemphill was head of Standard Bank’s insurance unit Liberty Holdings Ltd. until joining the parent last year.

Since becoming CEO in 2008 amid the global financial crisis, Roberts has sold assets, overseen an initial public offering for the insurer’s U.S. asset management business and paid down debt. Old Mutual, formed in South Africa more than 150 years ago, has bought assets in the rest of the continent as it focuses on emerging markets to boost profit. It acquired Intrinsic Financial Services Ltd. and U.K.-based Quilter Cheviot Ltd. in the past year.

“Bruce will bring experience as a chief executive of a public company combined with an in-depth knowledge of investments, savings, insurance and banking,” Patrick O’Sullivan, Old Mutual’s group chairman, said in the statement. “He also has a deep understanding of the South African and wider African financial services environment.”

Roberts was appointed CEO to replace Jim Sutcliffe, who resigned as the company experienced writedowns related to the financial crisis. Roberts had been Sutcliffe’s chief financial officer. Last year, Old Mutual recruited Ingrid Johnson from its South African banking unit to be the insurer’s CFO.