Financial Ombudsman Service appoints Deputy Chief Ombudsman and Chief Operating Officer

Press release

Following a recruitment process that attracted a high calibre of applications, the Financial Ombudsman is announcing the appointments of James Dipple-Johnstone to the role of Deputy Chief Ombudsman and Karl Khan as Chief Operating Officer.

Following a recruitment process that attracted a high calibre of applications, the Financial Ombudsman is announcing the appointments of James Dipple-Johnstone to the role of Deputy Chief Ombudsman and Karl Khan as Chief Operating Officer. The appointments follow the recent announcement last month (8 June) of Abby Thomas to the role of Chief Executive and Chief Ombudsman. James and Karl will take up their roles by 3 October.

James, 47, brings significant leadership in regulatory oversight and ombudsman functions delivering high quality investigations and service improvements. He currently works as the Deputy Commissioner for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) providing strategic leadership focused on the ICO’s efforts towards dispute resolution and enforcement at domestic and international level. James has also held senior posts in UK police, health and government oversight agencies leading teams dealing with professional misconduct, criminal, maladministration, information rights and fraud complaints.

Karl, 55, has a track record of delivering significant change and improvements that drive better outcomes for customers by increasing operational efficiencies. He has recently completed a secondment from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to the UK Health Security Agency as Operations Performance and Improvement Director. Karl initially joined NHS Test and Trace in response to the pandemic and successfully led the team that implemented community testing to all local authorities in England. Karl was previously Interim Director General, Customer Services Group, HMRC, responsible for the strategy and delivery of customer facing operations.

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

I am delighted that James and Karl will be joining the Financial Ombudsman, who have both demonstrated strong senior leadership skills and who bring a wealth of experience of working in large customer focused organisations. These are key roles in the new Executive team we are putting in place, headed by Abby Thomas who will join us by 3 October, and will also include the Chief People Officer and Chief Finance and Risk Officer roles that we are currently recruiting.

James Dipple-Johnstone said:

I’m excited to take up this role with the Financial Ombudsman, which gives me the opportunity to help maintain public trust in the UK financial services sector by delivering a fair and impartial complaints and investigations service. I’m committed to bringing improvements to people’s lives by delivering positive outcomes for the service.

Karl Khan said:

The Financial Ombudsman is an organisation with core aims and values that align with my own, delivering great customer service with integrity and fairness. I’m very proud and passionate about good public services and this is a great opportunity where I can use my experience and contribute to making a difference to society. 

Notes to editors

James Dipple-Johnstone – short biographical note

James held various senior roles in the UK Civil Service leading teams working in areas of government policy in a period that lasted over ten years. In 2008, James was appointed the Operations Director for the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, UK, leading over 200 staff dealing with complaints of maladministration by UK Government and NHS organisations. In 2012, James joined the Independent Police Commission in England as Commissioner for North West England Police Forces, with independent oversight and leadership of police counter corruption, use of force and misconduct investigations. In 2015, James joined the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (England and Wales) as Director of Investigation and Supervision and led a team that supervised the legal sector, dealing with allegations of professional misconduct, money laundering and fraud by Solicitors. James joined the Information Commissioners Office in 2017 as Deputy Commissioner leading their regulatory services. He has also held the role of Independent Assessor, Ombudsman Services, supporting the board and independently assessing complaints of how staff dealt with investigations.

Karl Khan – short biographical note

Karl has worked as a Senior Research Fellow for several universities, undertaking and overseeing research, securing funding for major research programmes, and has had papers published in International Scientific Journals. With experience in the private and public sector, in 1999, Karl moved to the Child Support Agency as Resource Planning and New Scheme Implementation Manager, developing overall operational resource plans and delivering implementation of IT systems and people changes. In 2011, Karl moved to the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission as Central Operations Director, accountable for service delivery, resourcing and budget management. In 2014, he worked at the Department for Work and Pensions, in the role of Director, Operations Planning and Performance where he was accountable for the operations business plan and resourcing. In 2018, Karl moved to HMRC, as Interim Director General, Customer Services Group, he was accountable for strategy and delivery of customer facing operations and budgets. In 2021, Karl took a secondment as Director, Operations Performance and Improvement at the UK Health Security Agency, in response to the pandemic successfully leading the team that implemented community testing to all local authorities in England.

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. It is committed to sharing insight and experience to encourage fairness and confidence in financial services.

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