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…

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.


Jo McGowan

>Jo McGowan

Jo McGowan

Chief People Officer

Jo has worked at First Central since the company started back in 2008 – initially as HR Manager, then Head of HR and HR director, before becoming Chief People Officer in January 2021.

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

Chief Transformation Officer

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, customer claims and operational excellence, resulting in her becoming Operations Director in January 2019. She was then promoted to Programme Director in January 2020, before becoming Chief Transformation Officer alongside the creation of a Transformation pillar in 2023.

Reporting to the Group CEO and working closely with the C-suite, Zuzana is responsible for the delivery of agreed strategic priorities. She works across the business matrix, driving high-performing multidisciplinary teams and ensuring effective programme delivery.

Zuzana has vast experience of the Financial Services sector and in leading teams through largescale projects across the business, resulting in strategy optimisation and overall performance improvement. Her previous senior leadership roles were 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.

Richard Marino

>Richard Marino

Richard Marino

Chief Governance Officer

Richard joined First Central as Chief Governance Officer in November 2020, to oversee the governance functions within First Central, with focus on the likes of Risk & Compliance, Legal, Internal Audit and Company Secretarial areas, as well as ensure that the Group is governed in accordance with the standards set by the Board, Regulators and best industry practice.

Richard joins First Central from AmTrust International, the US-owned insurance group, where he served as General Counsel. Previous to this, he also held senior positions at Genworth Financial and RBS Insurance, and led legal teams overseeing the Direct Line and Churchill brands.

Outside of work, Richard loves playing and watching sport. As an Australian, he’s a perennially frustrated Wallabies supporter, and also likes to try his hand at golf. In addition to this, he loves to travel and spend quality time with family and friends.

Will Verrill

>Will Verrill

Will Verrill

Group Strategy Director

Will joined First Central as Chief of Staff in 2021, before becoming Group Strategy Director in March 2023. He’s responsible for translating the Group’s strategy into coordinated actions across the business, working closely with our senior leaders to articulate the Group’s long-term strategic vision and develop plans to support its delivery.

Before joining First Central, Will spent a number of years working as a lawyer at a top tier international law firm, followed by an MBA at London Business School, during which he consulted a number of multi-national digital and retail businesses, before starting his own digital retail business. 

In his spare time, Will gets taken for runs by his dog ‘Happy’, attempts to sharpen his DIY skills around the house and spends quality time with his wife and son.