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update on appointment of new chief ombudsman

18 September 2009

Following the announcement at the end of June that Walter Merricks will be stepping down this autumn - after ten years as chief ombudsman - the non-executive board of the Financial Ombudsman Service, under its chair Sir Christopher Kelly, has now taken soundings from key consumer organisations and industry bodies [letter opens in PDF format] - on what stakeholders believe the relevant experience should be for the new chief ombudsman, and on the professional and personal attributes the ideal candidate for the post should have.

This feedback from stakeholders has been essential in guiding the work of the executive search consultants, Russell Reynolds Associates - appointed to help the board with the selection process for the new chief ombudsman. This process has included advertising the post in the national press [advertisement in the Sunday Times' appointment section opens in PDF format].

Meanwhile, the board has appointed principal ombudsman, David Thomas, as interim chief ombudsman - to carry out the responsibilities of this post from the date of Walter Merricks' departure on 30 October until the new chief ombudsman starts in due course.

David Thomas has been with the Financial Ombudsman Service for ten years - most recently as corporate director with responsibility for strategic policy, legislation and rules, and relations with government, regulators and the European Commission. Prior to this, he was the Banking Ombudsman and a solicitor in private practice.

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