Leadership team

Our executives are here to provide leadership and ensure that First Central Group continues its success as a leading insurance and technology group of companies. The team brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to help the group develop by collaborating with the right partners to solve challenges within the sector. Find out more about them here…

Mike Leonard

Mike Leonard

Mike Leonard

Chairman

Since co-founding First Central Group in 2008, Mike has led the business through a period of significant growth in a constantly evolving insurance market. 

As Chairman, Mike’s role is to lead the boards across the group to ensure the business is appropriately governed, recognising the interests of all the group’s key stakeholders whether they be policyholders, employees, regulators or investors. 

Before co-founding First Central Group, Mike worked for Amlin and Benfield, and then joined Zenith Insurance in 2002. He was promoted to UK CEO in 2004, and in 2006, Mike left to set up a new Lloyd’s managing agent, Diagonal Underwriting, owned by IAG.

Mike is married with four children, who tend to take up any remaining spare time! However, he's a keen rugby supporter (especially Wasps and England) and occasional (poor) golfer. 

Michael Lee

Michael Lee

Michael Lee

Group Chief Executive Officer

Michael is Group Chief Executive Officer and joined the company in March 2019. A Chartered Insurer, Michael has extensive experience in digitally driven, agile, technology-based distribution and underwriting.

Prior to joining First Central, Michael was Managing Director within the Hastings Insurance Group and part of the executive team that led the private equity deal with Goldman Sachs in 2013, and successfully floated the business in 2015. During his time with Hastings, Michael was fundamental to the success of the business, having had responsibility for the claims, counter fraud, underwriting, and reinsurance functions.

Before joining Hastings, Michael co-founded Southern Rock Insurance Company, and spent 10 years at Provident Insurance Plc.

 

John Kennedy

John Kennedy

John Kennedy

Chief Financial Officer

John joined First Central Group as Chief Financial Officer in February 2018 and is responsible for ensuring that the business has the financial resources to deliver against its growth aspirations.
 
Previously, John was the Chief Executive Officer at Proxama PLC, leading the strategic direction of the business and driving integration following a number of acquisitions. John has also held positions at Aviva and RAC, where he was responsible for optimising capital through effective investment into new product lines, new initiatives and improving the business cashflow.
 
Outside of work, John’s interests include golf, local causes and ornithology.

Jo McGowan

Jo McGowan

Jo McGowan

HR Director

Jo has worked at First Central since the company started back in 2008 – initially as HR Manager, then Head of HR, and in January 2019, she became HR Director.

As a business, we know that the people we employ are without doubt our biggest asset. Jo’s extensive experience in HR and passion for making First Central a place where people can thrive has helped us in our mission to become an employer of choice.

Before joining First Central, Jo spent four years at Hastings Direct working in HR.

In her spare time, Jo loves keeping fit and being outdoors. She’s a keen skier, plays badminton regularly and will try her hand at any sporting activity, including rock-climbing, water-skiing and wind-surfing.

Jonathan Guy

Jonathan Guy

Jonathan Guy

Chief Claims Officer

Jonathan joined First Central Group as Chief Claims Officer in April 2018 to deliver the business’s future digital customer claims strategy. In addition to this, he provides leadership on the processes and governance of the group’s claims indemnity spend and reserving. 
 
Before joining us, Jonathan spent 22 years in various roles at Co-operative Insurance. Most notably, he was the Claims General Manager (Director) and set up and executed the claims management strategy for the business.

As a keen gardener and walker, when Jonathan is not at work, he can be found outdoors.
 

Zuzana Clark

Zuzana Clark

Zuzana Clark

Operations Director

Zuzana joined First Central as Head of Premium Finance in 2012. Over time, her role broadened into operations to include Contact Centre management, service quality, claims and operational excellence, resulting in her becoming Operations Director in January 2019.

Responsible for the efficient running of our customer-facing areas of the business, Zuzana ensures we deliver on customer excellence, putting the customer at the heart of everything we do.

Zuzana has vast experience of operational management, having previously worked in this area at Premium Credit Ltd and TheJudge Ltd.

In her spare time, Zuzana enjoys travelling and learning about new cultures, as well as walking, cycling and trying her hand at interior design. 

John Davison

John Davison

John Davison

Chief Information Officer

John is Chief Information Officer of First Central Group. He joined the company as Group Chief Architect in August 2011 with responsibility for developing the business’s internal technical capabilities, particularly online. His wealth of experience has helped us digitise the traditional back-office insurance functions and build our own, more modern and flexible insurance 'suite'.
 
Prior to joining us, John spent many years developing innovative solutions for insurers and brokers worldwide, in both commercial and personal lines markets.
 
John is based in Guernsey, where he lives with his partner Steph and their three children. When time permits, he enjoys kayaking, cycling or the occasional round of golf.

Ben Tomasetti

Ben Tomasetti

Ben Tomasetti

Chief Commercial Officer

Ben joined First Central as Chief Commercial Officer in August 2019, to help develop and deliver the group’s 5-year strategy.
 
Before joining First Central, Ben spent 10 years at Hastings Direct in various roles, most recently as Digital & Marketing Director. Prior to that, he worked for a start-up, Castle Cover and the BGL group.
 
Whenever possible, Ben likes to be outdoors during his spare time – whether it's running, cycling or walking. But most of all, he loves spending time with his wife and young son.
 

Gareth Howell

Gareth Howell

Gareth Howell

Chief Underwriting Officer

Gareth joined First Central as Chief Underwriting Officer in October 2019 to lead the technical functions of the business and maintain market-leading capability.

Having started his career in the technical functions of pricing and underwriting at Zurich, Gareth then moved to AXA in 2012, initially leading the manufacturing teams in AXA’s personal lines business before expanding his responsibility into marketing and customer functions in 2014. He then moved into general management with AXA UK, operating at executive level with end-to-end responsibility for AXA’s personal lines businesses (both AXA Direct and AXA Intermediary). 

In his spare time, Gareth likes to relax with his family and friends. He also enjoys travelling, cooking and reading, and he likes to keep active by playing racquet sports and cycling.

Paul Priestley

Paul Priestley

Paul Priestley

Counter Fraud Director

Paul is Counter Fraud Director at First Central. He joined the business in September 2019 to create and implement a market-leading counter fraud strategy, making use of the great technology we have at our disposal.

Prior to joining First Central, Paul spent 21 years at Hastings Direct; starting as a Claims Handler and then moving up to various, more senior roles including Head of Counter Fraud, Head of Claims Operations and then Counter Fraud Director.  

When Paul isn’t at work, he has three children to keep him busy. He also likes to spend time at the gym and enjoys meals out.
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First Central Group Limited is registered in Guernsey (number: 48743) at Town Mills, Rue Du Pre, St Peter Port, Guernsey, GY1 6HS.