Financial Ombudsman Service announces new Chief Executive and Chief Ombudsman

Press release

Following an extensive recruitment process that attracted a highly qualified and diverse range of applicants, the Financial Ombudsman Service have appointed Abby Thomas to the role of Chief Executive and Chief Ombudsman.

Abby, 43, brings significant experience in leading change and driving operational excellence in large, complex organisations. She currently works for Virgin Media O2, which has 42.7 million mobile connections and 5.8 million fixed line customers. Her roles at Virgin Media O2 have included leading Virgin Media consumer operations, with responsibility for service call centres, field force and supply chain leadership, and more recently leading their flagship B2B Transformation programme. She will take up her new role in the autumn. 

Baroness Manzoor CBE, Chairman of the Financial Ombudsman Service, said:

I am delighted that Abby will be joining us. She brings a wealth of experience in top executive roles in high-pressured, customer-facing organisations. Her passion for delivering great service to all our customers, and connection to our mission of delivering fair and impartial decisions on complaints, was evident throughout this recruitment process. 

Within the Financial Ombudsman Service, we have great, committed people. We are giving them more of the tools that they need to provide a better, quicker service to consumers and financial businesses. Maximising the use of our technology, embedding better ways of working, and fully engaging our people in change, are among the challenges that this organisation is rising to. Abby’s passion, experience and leadership will be crucial to this effort.

I would like to thank Nausicaa Delfas for the leadership she has provided to the organisation over the past year as our interim Chief Executive and Chief Ombudsman, during a period of significant challenge; she has made significant changes. We are now better prepared to deliver our ambitious strategy for service improvement and operational excellence. I am delighted that she has agreed to continue her secondment until the autumn.

Abby Thomas said:

I believe that the Financial Ombudsman Service is critical to the effective functioning of the British economy and has never been more important than it is today. This is because at times of economic turbulence, it helps to maintain consumer confidence in financial markets. That is why I’m excited and honoured to have the opportunity to lead the organisation and support consumers and financial services to get fair, timely and effective resolutions to complaints.

Notes to editors

Abby Thomas – short biographical note

Abby started her career as a strategy consultant, working for Accenture, Hedra (a specialist public sector consultancy), and EY. She moved to industry in 2014 where her first role was to lead BT’s customer experience transformation, running a digital transformation programme with the objective of delivering a new website, app and contact centre experience for customers. Following this role, Abby moved to Vodafone where she led the global Customer Operations function for multi-national customers, and then to Virgin Media where she was responsible for the Customer teams, including the service call centres, the field force and supply chain. Abby is experienced in working within regulated environments, particularly in the telecommunications sector where activities were overseen by both Ofcom and the FCA.

About the Financial Ombudsman Service

The Financial Ombudsman Service was set up by Parliament to resolve individual complaints between financial businesses and their customers on a fair and reasonable basis, as an alternative to the courts. It can look into problems involving most types of money matters from payday loans to pensions, pet insurance to PPI. It is committed to sharing insight and experience to encourage fairness and confidence in financial services.

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