The Business On... Clive Bannister, Chief executive, Phoenix

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The Independent Online

All change at the top?

Indeed. Mr Bannister was appointed chief executive of Phoenix just yesterday. Apparently, the board felt it was "the right time for there to be a change". In other words, they decided to get rid of his predecessor, Jonathan Moss.



Crikey, it's a cut-throat business. What is Phoenix's businessanyway?

It's heavily into zombies.



Sorry? Do you mean it is some sort of film-maker?

Hardly: it runs zombie life insurance funds – savings plans closed to new investors some years ago, which Phoenix has bought up from other insurers in the hope consolidation will bring big economies of scale. It used to be called Pearl, but changed its name after taking over its rival Resolution a couple of years back.



And what are Mr Bannister's qualifications to run the show?

Well, for many years, he was in charge of the insurance business at HSBC Bank, so he's not new to the sector. He was also a very highly regarded boss of HSBC's private banking arm.



Are they making it worth his while?

Very much so – he'll get an annual salary of £700,000, plus bonuses, and the rest of the typical executive's package. In fact, he's on more than Mr Moss was getting.



Goodness, he must have jumped at the opportunity?

One would think so, though ran for it might be a more appropriate way of putting it. Mr Bannister's other claim to fame is that he is the son of Sir Roger Bannister, the British athlete who was the first person to run a mile in less than four minutes.



Was he not tempted by the family business?

Actually, Sir Roger was an amateur athlete – professionally, he was a very eminent doctor. Anyway, finance is in the family. Mr Bannister's grandfather on his mother's side, Per Jacobsson, was chairman of the International Monetary Fund in the 1950s.

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