One of Birmingham's best known firms has appointed its first female board member in its 170-year history.
Samantha Porter has been appointed to the Board of Wesleyan Assurance Society as marketing director having been with the Birmingham-based form for 16 years.
Wesleyan chief executive Craig Errington said: “Sam’s promotion to the Board is well deserved. She has a made a significant contribution to Wesleyan’s strategic development while sharpening our focus on delivering against our customer commitment.
Ms Porter added: “Clearly it’s exciting to be the first woman to join the Board and I hope to inspire others to also achieve their ambitions.”
The mutual has also appointed Liz McKenzie to its Executive Management Team as director of HR and corporate planning.
The moves come as Mr Errington - who recently won the Institute of Directors’ national Director of the Year - replaced Lowry Maclean, himself a former chair of Wesleyan Assurance Society, as chairman of the Aston Reinvestment Trust.
Philippa Holland, OBE, retired director of government practice at the Government Office for the West Midlands, has been elected deputy chair.
Ms Holland replaces Ian Clegg, retired regional director of NatWest who served on the board since ART’s inception in 1997.
Mr Errington said: “I feel honoured to be taking on this new role and following in such great footsteps. ART has strong foundations in place on which the new board can build.
"There are undoubtedly challenges ahead, but I think there are as many opportunities. With a strong board and experienced staff team, we can face the future with confidence.”
ART is a not-for-profit Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI), which lends up to £50,000 to businesses in Birmingham and Solihull that are unable to secure any or all of the finance they need from the banks.
ART’s president Sir Adrian Cadbury said: ”I have been asked whether I expected ART to last this long when we set it up as a pioneering enterprise in the late 1990s. I would say that it is needed now more than it ever has been.”