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WH Ireland appoints former Co-op Bank restructuring chief in non exec role

WH Ireland has appointed retail banking executive Tom Wood to chair its audit committee and serve as a non-executive director. 

The former chief restructuring and financial officer at The Co-operative Bank said he will focus on growing WH Ireland’s wealth management and capital markets businesses.

Wood served at The Co-operative Bank between 2017 to 2019, having been appointed by the shareholders following the bank’s third re-capitalisation.

According to WH Ireland, he delivered “a step change” in the bank’s returns, growth and capability during his tenure.

Wood also served as chief commercial officer of Shawbrook Group between 2012 and 2016, before being promoted to interim chief executive in May 2015.

More recently, Wood has advised several private equity funds on financial services sector assignments and portfolio companies relating to mergers and acquisitions, as well as transformational growth.

“I am delighted to join WH Ireland as a non-executive director following a year of significant progress by the business,” said Wood.

WH Ireland exceeded revenue expectations this year, after posting losses of £3.2m for the 12 months to the end of March 2020.

The firm saw revenues increase by 37 per cent to £29.6m for the year to the end of March 2021, above the 29 per cent rise the group predicted in May.

The firm attributed its gains to a strong performance from the group’s capital markets division, which saw its revenue soar 80 per cent, pocketing £14.5m compared with £7.9m a year previously.

Wood’s focus will be on both this arm and the wealth management division, which offers financial advice and discretionary investment management. 

This division saw its discretionary assets increase by 69 per cent to £1bn over the same period, helped in large part by the acquisition of Henley-based advice firm Harpsden Wealth Management in December.

“The team at WH Ireland is well positioned to grow both the wealth management and capital markets businesses, leveraging their reputation of providing high quality service to their clients in dynamic and changing markets,” said Wood.

“WH Ireland is building a differentiated and strong position supporting growth companies in both private and public markets and I really look forward to helping them grow this vital offering as well as accelerating growth in wealth management.”

Phil Shelley, WH Ireland’s chairman, highlighted Wood’s “depth financial and regulatory experience”,  having been “at the forefront” of a number of “major transformations” in financial services.

He continued: “As we build our business, I am confident Tom brings very relevant and current capability to his role as chair of audit.”

Earlier this year, former Ofgem chief executive Alistair Buchanan announced he was stepping down from the board of WH Ireland, after joining it in August 2019.

The firm said the non-executive director will leave by the end of this month in order to “concentrate on other business interests”.

ruby.hinchliffe@ft.com