UK insurer Phoenix Group's CFO to step down this year

(Reuters) - British insurer Phoenix Group's Rakesh Thakrar will step down as the chief financial officer this year after about four years in the role, the company said on Monday.

Stephanie Bruce, former CFO at British asset manager Abrdn, will join the group in June and will thereafter take over as interim CFO.

Thakrar, who joined Phoenix in 2001, was named the group's finance boss in 2020 and oversaw the simplification of the strategic partnership with Abrdn and the acquisition of Sun Life Financial's UK business.

The date of his departure is yet to be decided, while the board looks for a permanent successor.

The group earlier this year said it expected to increase profits by nearly a half and generate higher operating cash by 2026, as it looked to optimise costs and pay down debt aided by new business growth.

Phoenix - whose business model is to acquire old portfolios of life insurance policies and then look to optimise the cost and capital requirements for running these portfolios - has benefited from the booming bulk annuities market, where insurance giants buy pension obligations from companies.

(Reporting by Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Mrigank Dhaniwala and Eileen Soreng)