Fast-growing AJ Bell plc, the Salford-based investment platform, announced big changes to its exectuve team and board on Wednesday that fuelled speculation among some analysts that it is planning for the eventual retirement of its eponymous co-founder Andy Bell.
AJ Bell said Michael Summersgill, 37, has been appointed to the newly created role of deputy chief executive officer with effect from October 1, 2021.
Summersgill has been the firm’s chief financial officer since 2011 and is currently responsible for the company’s finance and operations functions.
“In his new role, Michael will support chief executive officer Andy Bell with the development and execution of the company’s strategy to drive the future growth of AJ Bell’s platform propositions,” said the Salford company.
In another big move, Roger Stott has been appointed to the newly created role of chief operating officer and will join the board on October 1.
“Roger is currently group finance director and has had a broad range of responsibilities in his thirteen years at AJ Bell,” said the company.
“In his new role Roger will assume responsibility for the company’s operational functions, ensuring the business remains scalable and continues to deliver a great service to customers and advisers as AJ Bell continues to grow.”
As a result of these changes, AJ Bell is currently conducting an external search for a new chief financial officer to join the board.
In another appointment, AJ Bell said Margaret Hassall has been appointed as a non-executive director and will join the board on September 12.
“Margaret has a broad range of experience developed across a range of different industry sectors,” said AJ Bell.
“Margaret has recently stepped down as a non-executive director of Nucleus Financial Group plc, where she chaired the remuneration committee, and was a non-executive director of OneSavings Bank plc until May 2020.
“During her executive career, Margaret worked as a consultant for Deloitte for 7 years, led the financial services consulting business for Charteris and previously held roles within some of the world’s largest banks.”
AJ Bell, chair Les Platts said: “These changes will further strengthen the board, both at executive and non-executive level, as the business embarks on the next phase of its long-term growth.
“The changes, together with the planned recruitment of a new chief financial officer, will bring greater experience and diversity to the board.
“This will benefit all of our stakeholders and enable the board to continue to maintain effective oversight as the business continues to grow.”
AJ Bell CEO Andy Bell said: “Our business is growing quickly and there are exciting opportunities to take advantage of in the investment platform market.
“It is important that we have the resources and expertise within the business to support this growth and that includes the board.
“I am as enthusiastic as I have ever been about the prospects for the business and I am looking forward to working with Michael, Roger, Margaret and the rest of the team as we embark on our next phase of growth.”