London, UK, 12 August 2019: QA, a leading digital education and skills provider owned by CVC, announced today that Paul Geddes will become CEO of the business when William Macpherson retires in September.
William Macpherson has led the business for 11 years delivering an average annual profit growth rate of 35% and successfully building QA into the largest digital education and skills provider in the UK. Paul Geddes joins the firm on 2 September 2019 and will take over as CEO later that month. William will remain on the Board of QA.
Paul was CEO of the insurance company Direct Line Group (DLG) for 10 years before stepping down in May 2019. During this time he led the successful IPO of the business, delivered strong customer and business performance leading to its entry into the FTSE 100. At DLG Paul oversaw significant digital innovation and championed the adoption of agile business development. Under his leadership, DLG was recognised in the top three of the Sunday Times Best Big Companies To Work For ranking.
Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of QA commented: “William has been a hugely successful leader of QA. He has transformed the business from a small IT training business that was just breaking even in 2008, into the market leader for IT and digital skills development. I’m delighted to welcome Paul Geddes as our new CEO. Paul has an exceptional track record as a performance-driven leader. He brings a strong focus on customers and great team leadership, both of which will propel QA during this next phase of the company’s development.”
William Macpherson commented: “This summer marks the completion of my 11th year as CEO of QA. It has been a tremendous journey, taken alongside many of QA’s key managers, who have joined me for most – and in some cases all – of that time. This deep bench of talented, committed executives has led the transformation of QA into one of the UK’s most successful and respected education businesses. I look forward to supporting the continued development of QA under Paul’s leadership.”
Paul Geddes commented, "I am really excited to be joining the QA team. Digital transformation is a pressing and urgent need for companies and for individuals in the workplace. QA is brilliantly placed to help them flourish in the digital age through our unique combination of IT skills training, consulting, apprenticeships and higher education. These are the key ingredients of our success and give us the potential to become a world-class, technology-enabled business in this market.”
With nearly £300m in annual revenues in training, apprenticeships, consulting and higher education, and more than 120,000 learners (including 5,500 graduate students) per year, QA is one of the largest educators in the UK. In 2018 the business enrolled its 20,000th apprentice onto one of its technical programmes. Its success in building skills that employers’ value has led it to become a key partner accelerating productivity and workforce development.
Paul read PPE at Oxford before joining brand management at Procter & Gamble, working on leading brands including Pampers and Max Factor in the UK and Europe. In 2007 he moved into retailing, for GUS and Argos, ending up as Marketing Director of Argos, including responsibility for the online business and winning awards for marketing and digital innovation. In 2004 Paul joined RBS, latterly becoming CEO of the Retail Banking business, including NatWest. In 2009 Paul became CEO of RBS’s Insurance division, and led the team to separate it as Direct Line Group and onto an IPO in 2012. During these 10 years Paul has overseen a profound business transformation and before Paul left DLG he launched latest generation cloud-based systems for the SME and personal lines businesses, as well as the innovative digital brand, Darwin. Throughout these 29 years, Paul has consistently embraced innovation, particularly digital, and has embraced the development of talent and diversity.