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Meet the Board of Directors

This Board of Directors governs Virgin Money UK PLC.

David Bennett

David Bennett

Chairman

Board committee membership

Joined the Group:

October 2015 and became Chairman May 2020

Skills, experience and contribution:

  • Deep experience gained over 35 years in retail banking & financial services
  • Extensive experience in strategic planning and implementation
  • Significant board governance experience including at chairman level
  • Credibility with stakeholders
  • Strong leadership qualities

David is an experienced Chairman and Non-Executive Director. He brings extensive experience of retail banking, strategy, risk management, corporate activity and organisation, operational & structural change gained from his long career in financial services. He has the governance expertise and external insight required to lead an effective Board which is critical to the long-term success of the Group. Prior to becoming Chairman in 2020, David had been Deputy Chairman since 2015 and therefore has the experience of the Group and track record needed to support the Board and executive in delivering the medium and longer-term strategy. His extensive business career includes time as Group Finance Director of Alliance & Leicester plc for six years before becoming its Group Chief Executive. Following the acquisition of Alliance & Leicester plc by Banco Santander he was Executive Director on the Board of Abbey National plc. He was formerly Chairman of Homeserve Membership Limited and Together Financial Services Limited, was a Non-Executive Director on the Board of Bank of Ireland (UK) PLC, Chairman of Ashmore Group PLC and has significant Non-Executive Director experience in listed environments which has included easyJet PLC and CMC Markets PLC.

Key external appointments:

Chairman of Allfunds Group plc, Non-Executive Director of PayPal (Europe) S.a.r.l et Cie, S.C.A and Non-Executive Board member of The Department for Work & Pensions.

Paul Coby

Paul Coby

Independent Non-Executive Director

Board committee membership

Joined the Group:

June 2016

Skills, experience and contribution:

  • Extensive information technology, e-commerce and digital transformation experience
  • Deep experience as a Chief Information Officer
  • Strong board governance and risk management experience across diverse industries
  • Significant experience in IT strategy development and implementation

Paul’s extensive experience as a Chief Information Officer (CIO) gained over 20 years at Johnson Matthey, John Lewis and BA is highly relevant to the Group’s digital strategy. His experience in leading digital transformation, delivering technology enabled change, cyber defence and IT operational excellence enable him to bring invaluable specialist insight to the Board. Paul is currently CIO at Johnson Matthey a FTSE 100 global leader in sustainable technologies. Johnson Matthey applies its scientific expertise to enable cleaner air, improved health and the more efficient use of the World’s natural resources, underpinned by digital technology with a diverse team across multiple countries. Prior to joining Johnson Matthey he was the first John Lewis partnership CIO responsible for creating a unified IT function and an integrated cyber security programme. He spent 10 years as BA’s CIO and was accountable for the design, development and operation of BA’s IT and eCommerce strategy. The Board also benefits from Paul’s strong board governance experience, his previous roles having included Chairman of SITA (Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques), Non-Executive Director at Pets at Home Group plc and at P&O Ferries Limited, Chairman of the eSkills UK CIO Board which created Computer Clubs for Girls, and Chairman of the oneworld CIO Group.

Key external appointments:

Chief Information Officer of Johnson Matthey PLC.

Geeta Gopalan

Geeta Gopalan

Independent Non-Executive Director

Board committee membership

Joined the Group:

October 2018

Skills, experience and contribution:

  • Extensive business leadership, management and board experience
  • Experience in the UK and internationally across a range of industries including financial services, retail banking, payments, digital innovation and the social sector
  • Deep understanding of the digital economy and interest in emerging technologies
  • Strong strategic, risk and governance experience

Geeta’s extensive financial services, retail banking and payments industry experience gained over more than 25 years strengthen the Board. Her understanding of the digital economy and interest in emerging technologies including the use of data and analytics in financial services enhance Board discussions with respect to the Group’s digital strategy in particular. Her extensive experience in the retail banking and payments industries mean she has a strong focus on customer conduct and fairness considerations and in delivering customer-focused outcomes. Her broad risk and governance experience is highly relevant to her role as Chair of the Risk Committee. Geeta was formerly Executive Chair of Monitise Europe, a non-executive director at VocaLink and Vice Chair of the Big Lottery Fund England, one of the largest funders of the third sector in England. Among the many roles in her career, Geeta was Director of Payment Services with HBOS plc and previously Managing Director, UK Retail Bank and Business Development Head EME at Citigroup. She is a chartered accountant.

Key external appointments:

Senior Independent Director and Chair of the Audit Committee of Funding Circle Holdings Plc, Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Remuneration Committee of Ultra Electronic Holdings Plc, Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Risk Committee at Wizink Bank S.A. and Trustee of the Old Vic Theatre Trust 2000.

Elena Novokreshchenova

Elena Novokreshchenova

Independent Non-Executive Director

Board committee membership

Joined the Group:

March 2021

Skills, experience and contribution:

  • Extensive experience in leading disruptive technology organisations across a range of sectors and growth stages
  • Proven track record in formulating and executing on digital strategy and transformation
  • Deep understanding of delivering value with innovative customer-centric businesses
  • Significant strategic and risk management experience

Elena’s extensive understanding of customer centric digital first organisations and the technology ecosystem gained over a 20 year international career, brings a wealth of experience to the Board. Elena’s most recent role was Executive Vice President of International at Remitly, a leading disruptor in the app first digital remittance space, appointed to internationalise, scale and drive company growth as a leading digital money transfer provider. Prior to this, Elena held senior tech product and general management positions at Expedia Inc. She also brings an invaluable strategic perspective from her time spent in the management consulting role at Strategy& (part of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP) as well as a strong financial acumen from her risk and debt finance roles at Barclays PLC.

Elena is a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion in the technology sector and is a member of the “Women in Payments Group” and the Worshipful Company of International Bankers. She is a regular speaker at technology summits and forums.

Darren Pope

Darren Pope

Independent Non-Executive Director

Board committee membership

Joined the Group:

October 2018

Skills, experience and contribution:

  • Extensive retail banking and financial services background
  • Significant board level strategic and financial leadership experience including investor relations, strategy, corporate development, treasury & finance
  • Governance and deep regulatory experience
  • Strong experience of boards at both executive and non executive level

Darren brings considerable and highly relevant experience in retail banking and financial services from a career spanning more than 30 years during which he held senior and board level positions as a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and finance director. His in-depth understanding of financial and risk matters and experience of managing relations with investors and regulators provides an excellent foundation for his role as Chair of the Remuneration Committee. Darren has strong experience of board governance including as a senior independent director and as chair of audit committees. His previous appointments include Senior Independent Director and Chair of the Audit Committee of Equiniti Group plc and CFO of TSB Bank plc where he took the lead role in the divestment of the TSB business from Lloyds Bank plc and its subsequent IPO and takeover. Prior to that he held several executive and senior retail banking and finance roles at Lloyds Banking Group plc.

Key external appointments:

Senior Independent Director and Chair of the Audit Committee at Network International Holdings plc and Non-Executive Chairman at Silicon Valley Bank UK Ltd.

Tim Wade

Tim Wade

Senior Independent Non-Executive Director

Board committee membership

Joined the Group:

September 2016

Skills, experience and contribution:

  • Deep financial services experience including banking and insurance
  • Considerable board experience including as an audit committee chair
  • Deep knowledge of accounting, auditing and associated regulatory issues
  • Chartered accountant and experienced Chief Financial Officer

Tim’s background as an experienced Chief Financial Officer (CFO), his breadth of financial services experience and the industry knowledge he has gained from over 20 years at both executive and non-executive director level is excellent grounding for his role as Chair of the Audit Committee. His extensive accounting, financial services audit, prudential oversight and corporate governance knowledge, including considerable experience as an audit committee chair, strengthen the Board. His previous non-executive director roles include Macquarie Bank International Limited, Friends Life Group Limited, Monitise plc and The Access Bank UK Limited. He was a Managing Director at AMP Group, responsible for both its Bank and the Virgin Direct (now Virgin Money) joint venture. Earlier in his career he was Group CFO at Colonial Limited in Melbourne, Australia where he oversaw the company’s IPO and was involved in its acquisition by Commonwealth Bank.

Key external appointments:

Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit Committee of RBC Europe Limited and Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee of Chubb Underwriting Agencies Limited.

David Duffy

David Duffy

Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer

Joined the Group:

September 2016

Skills, experience and contribution:

  • Extensive retail and commercial banking experience in the UK and internationally built over a period of more than 30 years
  • Significant strategic and financial leadership experience including strategic planning & development, business & cultural transformation
  • Proven ability to build and lead strong management teams
  • Deep industry understanding and credibility with key stakeholders

David has over three decades of extensive experience in banking and financial services in both the UK and internationally. He brings deep industry understanding to the Board as well as strong executive leadership which is critical to his role as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). His drive, energy and commitment to customers as well as his proven ability to build and lead strong management teams and transform businesses brings significant value to all of Virgin Money’s stakeholders. Prior to joining the Group, David was CEO at Allied Irish Banks plc and previously of Standard Bank International where he had responsibility for operations in the UK, Europe, Latin America and Asia. He was also previously Head of Global Wholesale Banking Network with ING Group and President and Chief Executive of the ING wholesale franchises in the United States and Latin America. David is a past president of the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland and a past Director of the European Banking Federation.

Key external appointments:

Senior Independent Director of UK Finance Limited, the industry body representing leading firms providing finance, banking, markets and payments-related services in or from the UK, member of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) President’s Committee, an advisory body providing advice to the President and CBI executive on all issues of national importance, HM Treasury Fintech Envoy for England and a Board member of The Northern Powerhouse Partnership.

Clifford Abrahams

Clifford Abrahams

Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer

Joined the Group:

March 2021

Skills, experience and contribution:

  • Extensive international executive experience at leading financial services businesses
  • Deep experience as Chief Financial Officer
  • Significant strategic and financial experience, including on integration and digital transformation

Clifford brings extensive executive experience across international financial services to the Board. His broad knowledge gained as a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of publicly listed financial services companies is of great value to the Board. Clifford’s proven track record of delivery of commercial results, risk management and business change and development including digital propositions is crucial to supporting Virgin Money in the delivery of its strategy. Prior to joining Virgin Money, Clifford was Group CFO at ABN AMRO Bank having joined in that role in 2017. Previous roles include Group CFO at the Dutch insurer Delta Lloyd Group, ten years at Aviva in several senior financial roles including CFO of Aviva Investors, CFO of UK & Ireland Life Insurance and CFO of UK & Ireland General Insurance. In the early part of his career Clifford spent twelve years at Morgan Stanley in the Financial Institutions Group most latterly as Managing Director.

Key external appointments:

None

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