Aviva man to chair First
John McFarlane is to replace Martin Gilbert as FirstGroup Chairman. John has joined the company’s board with immediate effect and will take on the new role from 1 January 2014, at which time Martin will retire from the board. John is Chairman of the insurance group Aviva Plc having joined the board in September 2011. He spent eight months in an executive capacity there pending the appointment of a new CEO. He is also Non-Executive Director of Westfield Holdings Ltd, the world’s largest retail mall operator headquartered in Sydney, with flagship developments in London, as well as being a Non-Executive Director of Old Oak Holdings Ltd, a London based privately owned financial holding company. John spent over 38 years in the international financial institutions sector, including ten years as CEO of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. Prior to that, he was an Executive Director at Standard Chartered and head of Citibank in the UK. His early career was with Ford in Dagenham in manufacturing. More recently, in October 2008, he joined the board of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group as a Non-Executive Director to assist in its recovery after the global financial crisis.
Senior Independent Non-Executive Director, John Sievwright, said, ‘On behalf of the Board, I am pleased to announce the appointment of John McFarlane as Chairman of FirstGroup. John is an outstanding leader with extensive international experience and a track record of leading strategic change and value creation that speaks for itself. I am delighted to welcome him to the Group where his experience will be invaluable as we drive forward our plans to improve our returns, resilience and growth prospects. I would also like to pay tribute to Martin Gilbert who has been involved with the Group since its formation and has been instrumental in establishing its position as the leading transport operator in the UK and North America. On behalf of the Board and everyone at FirstGroup I would like to thank him for his enormous contribution to the Group over many years.’