Giles Group takes on McManus as its top man

Giles Group, the fast-growing Glasgow-based insurance broker, has recruited industry heavy-weight Brendan McManus as its new chief executive.

McManus, previously chief executive of Willis Group, will take over the operational reins at Giles next April, when founder Chris Giles moves up to become executive chairman to focus on acquisitions and developing the firm’s offshore and international business.

McManus, whose previous roles in the industry have included managing director of RSA Commercial, will be charged with driving development of Giles’ broking and underwriting business in the UK.

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“Everyone in the insurance industry recognises that Chris has done an amazing job in building the business to where it is today,” McManus said. “The fact that he still has massive ambitions for it meant I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be part of the story.”

Giles Group’s latest recruitment, which is subject to Financial Services Authority approval, comes after the company recently completed one of its largest acquisitions to date by taking over Aim-quoted CBG in a move which will provide a springboard for expansion in the north-west of England.

The Glasgow-based firm paid £5.1 million, or 32p a share, for CBG in August.

The deal has given Giles, which was founded in 1967, a significant presence in the region with major bases in Manchester and Blackpool to add to its existing offices in Wigan and Chester.

It also consolidated its top ten position in the UK independent brokers’ market and took staff numbers to more than 1,100.

The company made turnover of £69.9m in the year to the end of August 2010, with operating losses of £6.5m in the year – compared with a profit of £8.4m the previous year – due to costs of integrating acquisitions and interest charges.

At the time the results were filed in May, the company said it was actively looking at a number of acquisition opportunities and believed that it had sufficient funding in place to “continue to take a lead in consolidating the market”.

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