Leadership team

Our board comprises leaders with a wealth of experience from across both James Hay and Nucleus, and the wider industry.

Portrait of Mark Dearsley, Chairman of the Nucleus Financial Group

Mark Dearsley

Chairman

Portrait of Mark Dearsley, Chairman of the Nucleus Financial Group

Mark Dearsley

Chairman

Mark became the Chairman of IFG Group plc in 2018 and has been Chairman of James Hay since 2019 following the Epiris acquisition.

Mark has almost 40 years' experience in the financial services sector, including serving as Group Strategy Director for Just Group plc, Group Chief Financial Officer and Managing Director, International for Partnership Assurance, Group Chief Finance Officer at Savills plc and Group Mergers & Acquisitions Director and Finance Director, Europe and International at Aviva plc. He is a chartered accountant and holds a BA in Economics from the University of Leicester.

Portrait of Richard Rowney,  CEO Nucleus Financial Group

Richard Rowney

Chief Executive Officer

Portrait of Richard Rowney,  CEO Nucleus Financial Group

Richard Rowney

Chief Executive Officer

Richard joined James Hay as CEO in October 2020 and became CEO of our combined group in August 2021.

He was previously CEO of LV where he worked for thirteen years, helping to build it into the UK’s most trusted and recommended insurer. Prior to becoming CEO he led the life and pensions division, creating one of the leading specialist retirement and protection providers. Before LV he spent 14 years at Barclays in a variety of senior operational, risk and change roles, including leading the integration of Woolwich Building Society.

Richard was the driving force behind bringing James Hay and Nucleus together.

Portrait of Stuart Geard, CFO (Nucleus)

Stuart Geard

Chief Financial Officer
(Nucleus Financial)

Portrait of Stuart Geard, CFO (Nucleus)

Stuart Geard

Chief Financial Officer
(Nucleus Financial)

Stuart joined Nucleus in 2012 and has been CFO since August 2017.

He started his career in 1997 with what is today PwC South Africa before moving to Sanlam Limited, relocating to the UK in 2005. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2000 and has passed all three levels of the CFA exams.

He graduated from the University of Cape Town with a BBusSc (Finance) and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Accounting.

Portrait of Gavin Howard, CFO Nucleus Financial Group

Gavin Howard

Chief Financial Officer
(James Hay Partnership)

Portrait of Gavin Howard, CFO Nucleus Financial Group

Gavin Howard

Chief Financial Officer
(James Hay Partnership)

Gavin joined as Group Chief Financial Officer in April 2018. He’s a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries with extensive experience in the financial services sector, including serving as Director of Strategy for Just Group plc, Director of International and Director of Equity Release for Partnership Assurance and Chief Financial Officer of In Retirement Services Ltd. Gavin is also a 3i-backed equity release specialist and has held actuarial roles for Barclays and Friends Provident.

His role incorporates strategy and leadership for teams of specialists, covering all aspects of financial planning, reporting; i.e. P&L, management information, fees, and taxation.

Portrait of David Paige, Non-Exec Director Nucleus Financial Group

David Paige

Non Executive Director

Portrait of David Paige, Non-Exec Director Nucleus Financial Group

David Paige

Non Executive Director

David Paige is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and was a partner in Coopers & Lybrand's financial services division before moving into senior executive positions with NatWest Bank, Zurich Financial Services, Aviva plc and RSA Insurance Group where he was executive director for risk. He was also non-executive director of several of Aegon's UK businesses, Willis UK, Yorkshire Building Society and Helphire PLC. Until recently he was Chairman of the Yorkshire Building Society Pension Scheme.

Portrait of Bill Priestley, Non-Exec Director Nucleus Financial Group

Bill Priestley

Non Executive Director

Portrait of Bill Priestley, Non-Exec Director Nucleus Financial Group

Bill Priestley

Non Executive Director

Bill is Chief Investment Partner at Epiris. Not only is Bill an active investor, but also he leads the investment team and sits on the firm’s Management and Investment Committees. He has led the investments in Portals and The Club Company and also worked on the IFG investment. His earlier track record includes investments in Hollywood Bowl, Innovia, Photobox and TGI Fridays.

Before joining Epiris in 2014, Bill spent 13 years at LGV Capital, latterly as Managing Director. Bill’s career started at Barclays and then N M Rothschild & Sons. Bill has a degree in Law from Cambridge University. He holds two blues in hockey from Cambridge and still plays each week for his local club, currently in the same team as his son.

Portrait of Kathryn Purves, Non-Exec Director Nucleus Financial Group

Kathryn Purves

Non Executive Director

Portrait of Kathryn Purves, Non-Exec Director Nucleus Financial Group

Kathryn Purves

Non Executive Director

Kathryn is an experienced financial services professional with executive experience of CEO and CRO roles and a focus on risk management, governance, legal and compliance. She served as Chief Executive Officer of IFG plc, a listed financial services holding company, from April 2018 to April 2020 and previously was Chief Risk Officer of Partnership Assurance Group plc, a leading provider of non-standard annuities.

Prior to joining Partnership in 2008, she worked within the private equity industry for approximately ten years. Kathryn is also currently a non-executive director of Intermediate Capital Group plc, where she chairs the Risk Committee, a non-executive director of Aztec Group and chair of Redington.

Portrait of Owen Wilson, Non-Exec Director Nucleus Financial Group

Owen Wilson

Non Executive Director

Portrait of Owen Wilson, Non-Exec Director Nucleus Financial Group

Owen Wilson

Non Executive Director

Owen Wilson is a director of James Hay. Owen has over 20 years' experience in the private equity industry. He is currently a partner at Epiris LLP, having joined the firm in 2013. Prior to this, Owen spent four years in Palamon Capital Partners as Principal, 5 years at Candover as Investment Director, and 7 years advising private equity clients whilst at Bain & Co. Owen obtained a BA in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge, as well as an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Supported by our experienced executive management team.