The chief executive of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is stepping down next month after nearly seven years in the role.
Caroline Wayman, who said the “time is right” to step down, will leave on April 16, after 22 years in the service.
She has played a key role in the service at a time when it has dealt with huge volumes of consumer complaints about firms mis-selling PPI (payment protection insurance).
PPI was the biggest scandal that the ombudsman service has ever seen and it has helped more than two million people.
The deadline for complaining about PPI to the companies involved was in August 2019, although consumers have been able to escalate gripes to the ombudsman after this date. The service’s latest figures show the scandal is finally tailing off.
The service has recently been criticised for unresolved cases building up during the coronavirus crisis.
Treasury Committee chair Mel Stride previously told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “This is an organisation that needs to sharpen up.”
Ms Wayman has said the service has responded well to the challenges it has faced.
A statement placed on the ombudsman service’s website said that in announcing her departure to ombudsman service staff, Ms Wayman said: “After nearly seven years as chief ombudsman and chief executive, I have decided that the time is right for me to step down from the role. It’s been an honour and a privilege to have led the service throughout this time.
“The service has reached a pivotal point; in 2021 we expect to receive our final PPI cases and as nations, organisations and individuals, we are contemplating a landscape shaped and forever changed by a global pandemic. It’s against this backdrop, that the service is embarking on the next phase of its journey and it’s time for me to do the same.
“As I bid my colleagues and my many friends here a heartfelt farewell, I wish the board, the executive team and my successor the very best. And in looking to the next chapter in my career, I shall take the ombudsman service culture and values with me and I will hold dear the resilience and fortitude of everyone who works here and your enduring commitment to do the very best for our customers.”
In giving thanks on behalf of the board, chairman Baroness Zahida Manzoor said: “Caroline’s departure comes at the end of a long career, during which time she’s played a key role in significant milestones in the service’s history.
“Most recently, Caroline has, of course, been steering the service through its response to Covid-19, ensuring operational resilience and balancing the dual responsibilities of serving customers and supporting staff, during these most challenging of times.
“On behalf of the board, the executive and all the staff at the service, I would like to record our thanks and wish Caroline every success in her future endeavours.”
The appointment of the chief ombudsman and chief executive is made by the board. An open process for recruiting Caroline Wayman’s successor will begin shortly.