Direct Line has hired a new chief financial officer as the insurance group seeks to cut its cost base after fending off takeover interest from Belgian rival Aegas.

Jane Poole, currently finance chief of rival Aviva's general insurance division in the UK and Ireland, will join the board of Direct Line in October. She replaces Neil Manser, who has been in the position since January 2021 and has worked for Direct Line since 2011.

Ms Poole joins her old boss Adam Winslow who took over as chief executive of Direct Line at the beginning of March, having previously been chief executive of UK and Ireland general insurance for Aviva. During his short tenure, Direct Line has fought off a £3.2 billion takeover attempt by Aegas and unveiled plans to cut costs by £100 million per year.

The Herald: Jane PooleJane Poole (Image: LinkedIn)

Announcing an annual operating loss of  £189.5m last month, Mr Winslow said last month that the group has identified "significant opportunities" to cut around £100m by the end of 2025 by reducing operational complexity and technology costs. Direct Line has not quantified whether this will lead to immediate job cuts or a reduction in headcount over time, with Mr Winslow due to to provide a further update in July.

Direct Line is the UK's second-largest motor insurance group and a major employer in Scotland with approximately 1,000 staff based mainly out of Direct Line House in Glasgow's Cadogan Street.

Direct Line chair Danuta Gray said the group was "delighted" to welcome Ms Poole to the board of directors.

READ MORE: Direct Line targets £100m of cost savings in effort to see off Belgian bidder

"The board conducted an extensive search to secure such a high calibre appointee and I am confident that Jane Poole will be a great asset to our organisation," she said. "At the same time, I would like to thank Neil Manser for steering the group through what has been a challenging time and the part he has played in stabilising the business for the future."

Ms Poole added: "I am delighted to be joining Direct Line Group as CFO at this important time and motivated to drive business performance to realise the significant potential ahead for the group.

"I am looking forward to joining the board and leading the finance function as the organisation looks to drive growth, deliver on its commitments to serving its millions of customers and creating long-term sustainable shareholder value."