Monday 31st October 2022: TH March, the UK’s leading specialist jewellery insurance broker, today announces that Chief Executive Officer, Neil McFarlane will be retiring in early 2023, after nearly 40 years of loyalty and committed service to the company.
Neil joined the Commercial Insurances Department of the TH March Plymouth office as a Management Trainee at the tender age of just 19. In 1988, Neil was promoted and became an Account Executive, covering the South West region, where he was really able to learn and understand the jewellery trade and their insurance requirements.
Ten years later, in 1998, Neil was appointed as an Associate Director of the Company, and this was followed by a move to the London office in January 1999. By the end of that year Neil became a Director, and in July 2005, Neil was appointed as Sales Director, shortly after also taking on responsibility for Marketing. In June 2012, he succeeded Michael Ferraro as TH March’s new Managing Director.
During 2018, Neil’s role altered, once again, to Chief Executive Officer, which more accurately reflected the way in which the company has developed over the years.
Neil has made many long-lasting friendships amongst members of the creative and vibrant UK jewellery trade, and his passion for the sector has been unwavering over his long years of service.
He said: “I have worked with some amazing people during my time at TH March and enjoyed some brilliant times. I will of course miss many colleagues and clients, many of whom have become friends. However, I will leave TH March in good hands, with the amazing staff we have in place and the innovation and process change being rolled out around the company. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues, past and present, for their help, humour, guidance and input and wish everyone all the best for the future”.
In the next chapter of his life, Neil will be enjoying the time and freedom that retirement brings. He comments: “This will include spending the “free time” with my wife, children, and grandchildren, as well as exploring all of the parts of the UK that I haven’t had time to explore. In addition, I will continue to enjoy spending time outdoors and the odd game of golf”.
Mark Smith, Non-Executive Chairman comments “Neil will be sorely missed at TH March, both on a business and a personal front. He has been the driving force of improving customer experience excellence over the years, incorporating use of technology but not forgetting that TH March is both a people business, and an independent family business, and the values that imbues. Congratulations on your retirement and your wonderful career”.
Simon Dawe has been named as Managing Director (effective since 1st June 2022) and has an extensive background and history at TH March, ready to deliver a strong operational performance and support its strategic direction.
Mark Smith said: “The undeniable benefit of this environment means that we, at TH March, have been able to produce our own future succession, whilst maintaining the same vision, for both our staff and our customers, and I have no doubt that Simon Dawe will continue the process admirably, whilst adapting to a rapidly changing environment, both in business and technology. By doing this, he will continue the focus of TH March as a customer-first business”.
Prior to his new role, Simon’s career in insurance began in 1997, when he joined TH March and first worked in the Plymouth office, mainly in the Commercial Department, for six years. He was promoted to Account Executive in 2003 and relocated to our Birmingham office and subsequently promoted to Associate Director, and then naturally progressed to a Regional Director role. In 2018, Simon was appointed as Sales Director.
As part of his ongoing Professional Development, Simon gained his CII Diploma in 2006 and his ACII in 2019. In 2022, he joined the new class of Aviva Future Leader Delegates, which represent some of the rising stars within the broker market. The Aviva Future Leader programme is designed for independent brokers who believe they have the potential to become the broker principals of the future.
He is also a Guardian for Birmingham’s Assay Office and can be called upon, as required, to provide independent advice, professional guidance, and introductions within his field of expertise.
Commenting on his new appointment, he said: “I am delighted to have this opportunity to lead the business and I have the good fortune to work with very talented colleagues and a well-qualified team. We’re absolutely committed to continuing to put our clients’ needs and requirements first and foremost, just as we’ve done for over 135 years, supporting them to protect their assets and grow their businesses.
Now is an exciting time to work in insurance, which relies upon an affinity for teamwork, an entrepreneurial spirit and love for solving problems. Insurance plays a crucial part in our daily lives and the lives of the people close to us. Being trusted to be by the customer’s side, as their experts, means everything to us. Not only that, we are committed to designing our products, systems and processes around their needs”.
Neil and Simon have been working closely together on ensuring a smooth transition. Neil adds: “I am sure you will all join me in congratulating Simon Dawe on his promotion. The Board and I have every confidence in Simon’s ability and vision to take TH March to the next stages of its development.”