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Profile of the new leader of the New Deal Task Force – Sandy Leitch

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Sandy Leitch is 52 and was born in Dunfermline, Fife. His father was a coal-miner who died, without any provision for the family, when Sandy was only two years old, leaving a widow and four children. His formative years were instrumental in the development of his core personal values - compassion, integrity and a strong work ethic.

Sandy Leitch qualified for university at the age of 16, but instead decided to pursue a career in computers. He came to London aged 17 and by the age of 21 was the Chief Systems Designer at a Life Company.

Sandy joined Allied Dunbar (then Hambro Life) in 1971 as a systems designer and in the same year was appointed Head of Information Technology. He joined the Main Board of the company in 1981, became Managing Director in 1983 and Deputy Chairman in 1991.

Sandy held the post of Chief Executive at Allied Dunbar Assurance from 1993-1996 and he led the company to become the largest of its type in Europe. He was also instrumental in developing Allied Dunbar's 'demanding and caring' approach resulting in the company being independently assessed as one of the top three employers in the UK.

In 1997 Sandy became a Main Board Director of B.A.T Industries plc. His responsibilities included all B.A.T financial services businesses outside North America. These included Allied Dunbar, Eagle Star and Threadneedle Asset Management.

Following the creation of Zurich Financial Services, through the merger of B.A.T's financial service businesses with Zurich Insurance in 1998, Sandy moved to his current post as Chief Executive of Zurich Financial Services in the UK, Ireland and Southern Africa. He also became a member of the Group Executive Board of Zurich world-wide and remains Chairman of Allied Dunbar, Eagle Star and Threadneedle Asset Management.

Sandy has also undertaken a wider role within the insurance sector. He firstly chaired the Life Insurance Council of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) from 1997-1998, where he accelerated the industry's response to pensions mis-selling and to compensating those affected.

From 1998 - July 2000 he chaired the ABI and spearheaded SALTR, an industry initiative aimed at raising standards across the Life Industry, in the wake of pension mis-selling. He also worked closely with the Government on both welfare reform and the creation of the Financial Services Authority.

Outside work Sandy has undertaken a number of public service roles, including:


  • the Chairmanship of Cares - a joint government/business/community initiative designed to increase community volunteering by 100,000

  • the Deputy Chairmanship of Business in the Community and Chairmanship of Employees in the Community

  • In 1999 he won the Prince of Wales Ambassador,s Award for outstanding achievement in charitable work and was made a Trustee of the National Galleries of Scotland.

Sandy is divorced with three daughters and now lives in London and Edinburgh. His hobbies include Dunfermline Athletic FC, the appreciation of Scottish antiques and fine malt whisky.

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