The chief executive officer and managing director of a lenders mortgage insurance company is to step down from her roles this year.
Following the release of Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia’s results for the first quarter of the calendar year 2019, chairman Ian MacDonald revealed that the company’s CEO and MD, Georgette Nicholas, will retire from her role later this year.
While no date has yet been set for her departure, Mr MacDonald said that Ms Nicholas will continue in her current role of CEO and MD until a successor commences.
Once the new CEO takes the reins, Ms Nicholas will formally step down from her role as CEO and member of the board of directors but will remain in Australia as an employee of Genworth for a period of time thereafter to ensure a “smooth handover and orderly transition to her successor”.
Ms Nicholas will then relocate back to her residence in the United States.
Ms Nicholas commented: “After more than five years away from my family in the United States, I have made a personal decision to return home. It has been a privilege to be the CEO and MD of Genworth, and I am proud of the transformation achieved during my time with the company and the contribution that Genworth has made in supporting home ownership across Australia.
“We have set the company’s future strategic path with a strong focus on the evolving needs of lender customers and borrowers to ensure we deliver sustainable ongoing returns to our shareholders.
“I would like to take the opportunity to express my appreciation and thanks to the entire Genworth Australia team for their commitment, dedication and support,” she said.
“We have a high-calibre team that is well positioned to build on the momentum of the strategic program of work and the achievements made to date.”
Ms Nicholas first joined Genworth in 2005 and has held a range of titles, including senior vice president, investor relations, public relations and rating agencies with Genworth Financial Inc. and chief financial officer of the US mortgage insurance and international businesses.
She served as chief financial officer of mortgage insurance Australia from February 2010 and was appointed acting CEO in 2015 before becoming the group’s permanent CEO in February 2016.
Ms Nicholas also became managing director in May 2016.
The CEO and MD has worked for Genworth since 2005.
The chairman thanked Ms Nicholas for her leadership and “significant contribution” during her time with the company.
“Georgette has played a significant role in leading Genworth’s strategic program of work, particularly in redefining the company’s core business model and in positioning Genworth as a leading provider of risk and capital management solutions to the Australian residential mortgage market,” Mr MacDonald said.
“She has also been instrumental in leading a cultural change within the business resulting in a diverse and highly engaged workforce.”
The Genworth chairman added: “Georgette leaves Genworth in a strong position to compete and grow over the next phase of our strategic journey.”
An Australian and international executive search for a new CEO and MD has now commenced.
The announcement of Ms Nicholas’ departure came following the release of Genworth’s financial results for the first quarter of 2019.
The results show that gross written premium (GWP) fell by 50.4 per cent when compared to the prior comparative period, but that this was largely a reflection of a bespoke transaction written via Genworth’s Bermudian entity last year.
Excluding this transaction, GWP would have increased by 7.5 per cent, reflecting an increase in traditional LMI flow and bulk business written.
GWP attributable to bulk portfolio transactions was $1.9 million in 1Q19 while that from flow businesses was also up.
New insurance written increased by 24 per cent, from $4.3 billion to $5.4 billion, “reflecting the resurgence of the first home buyer segment and the greater proportion of LMI business written by Genworth lender-customers”.
Overall, Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia Limited reported a statutory net profit after tax (NPAT) of $47.8 million, up from the $8.4 million on the same period last year, while underlying NPAT rose from $19.9 million to $22.3 million.
Ms Nicholas commented: “Our 1Q19 financial performance is in line with full-year guidance and reflects the seasonal increase in the loss ratio historically experienced by our business.
“Whilst moderating housing market conditions, tightening credit and increases in mortgage interest rates have continued to be prevalent, our traditional lenders mortgage insurance business (both flow and bulk) continued to deliver growth in our new insurance written during this quarter. This demonstrates the strong fundamentals underlying the business performance,” she said.
Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.
As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts.
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