The executive chairman of emergency insurance firm HomeServe is stepping down after 14 years at the company.

Brian Whitty, who has spent 14 years at the Walsall-based firm announced his departure as the home maintenance specialist predicted “another year of strong growth”.

Mr Whitty, who has been in his role since April 2004 following six years as chief executive and three as finance boss, will hand over to Barry Gibson, currently the senior independent non-executive director, on April 1.

The company said Mr Gibson has lots of experience, having been a director at Somerfield, National Express and William Hill and leading Littlewoods between 1997 and 2001.

Chief executive Richard Harpin said: “On behalf of the board and the company, I would like to thank Brian for his outstanding contribution to the development of HomeServe over the last 14 years both as executive chairman since the de-merger in April 2004 and before that as chief executive of South Staffordshire Group.

“During his time at HomeServe, Brian has been instrumental in helping to grow and develop the business from its origins within South Staffordshire Water to the international business it is today. On a personal note, I would like to thank Brian for his leadership of the board since 2004 and his guidance since he joined the business in 1995 and wish him every success in the future.”

In a trading update, HomeServe said all its policy membership businesses have performed well since October and it now has 10 million policies from 4.5 million customers worldwide.

The firm said it remained on track to achieve UK customer growth and gross new policy sales targets for the full year, while progress is being made in France and Spain.

It said its US business was also “performing well” and the group continues to make good progress with a number of potential new partners.

“Our membership businesses continue to perform well demonstrating the strength of the business model and attractiveness of our products and we expect to deliver another year of strong growth when we announce our preliminary results on 25 May 2010,” the group said.