The Business On... Natalie Ceeney Chief executive, Financial Ombudsman

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The Independent Online

Is she the woman sticking it to the banks?

She's trying to, although the Financial Ombudsman Service has been swamped by complaints about rip-off payment protection insurance over the past year. It revealed yesterday that it handled 206,000 complaints about financial services companies in 2010-11, of which 51 per cent were about PPI.

Can Ms Ceeney cope?

She says she can, although cases are taking a little longer than usual. But the FOS has only itself to blame. It was its warning to the Financial Services Authority that the banks were fobbing off PPI complainants that prompted a crackdown.

Good for her

Quite right. But it was Ms Ceeney's predecessor, Walter Merricks, who sounded the alert. She only arrived at the FOS in January.

What did she do before?

She was a librarian.


We're being a little glib. Actually, she ran the National Archives, having got that job after a stint as director of operations at the British Library.

Isn't this a bit of a change of direction?

Well it's still public service. But the FOS and its customers – the poor souls at the mercy of the financial services industry – are fortunate to have Ms Ceeney, who is something of a high flier. She did her A Levels aged just 16 and then went to Cambridge, where she ended up as president of the students' union.

Did she think about going into politics full-time?

No, student politics was more than enough. Instead, on graduation, she became a management trainee at the NHS – within four years she was a senior manager at Great Ormond Street hospital.

Any other useful experience?

She had a four-year spell at McKinsey, the management consultancy, so she'll be used to the sort of business doublespeak that the banks like to hide behind.