Close Brothers’ CEO of Retail Rebecca McNeil made history when she was appointed Chair at the FLA almost two years ago. 

During the Finance & Leasing Association’s 30-year existence, it had never before had a woman in that role, so her appointment in 2021 marked a significant milestone. 

However, news has emerged that McNeil is not just leaving Close Brothers but is leaving the sector (to take up a sports coaching role, according to one source), which has triggered her to step down as Chair of the FLA.

McNeil is the board Chair of the Women’s Sport Trust, a national charity.

McNeil will be succeeded by John Phillipou the Managing Director of SME Lending at Paragon Bank, the FLA said in a press release.

Who is Phillipou?

His career spans over 25 years in business lending, including roles with Bank of Scotland, JCB Finance, Citigroup and as International MD for Deutsche Leasing. Phillipou said: “The industry is on the verge of significant change in the coming years through technology advancements and I am looking forward to playing a role in its evolution, ensuring that the sector’s voice is heard by policymakers and raising its profile with industry.”

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See our recent comment piece by Phillipou: Adaptation is not an option, it is an imperative: Paragon’s Phillipou