Hansard Group has named Graham Sheward as successor to longstanding chief executive Gordon Marr with immediate effect, the Isle of Man-headquartered international life company announced to the stock market this morning (10 May).

Marr flagged his impending retirement from the company in March this year, and he is now stepping down as CEO and director on Sheward's appointment while remaining with the company to ensure a smooth handover until formally leaving on 30 September this year.

Sheward, who was previoulsy managing director of the Sancus Group's Isle of Man office, has more than 20 years' experience of developing successful international financial services businesses across a wide range of jurisdictions, including UK, Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Ireland, Mauritius, Singapore and South Africa.

He has experience in managing and leading regulated multi-jurisdictional banking, investment, fund & corporate administration, trust & fiduciary, and outsourcing businesses.

Sheward moved to the Isle of Man in 1999 with NatWest Offshore, and subsequently held various executive roles with Zurich Financial Services before becoming managing director of Close Brothers Group, Offshore Banking Division.

After spending eight years in Mauritius holding a country corporate director role for Barclays and then as managing director of SGG Group (now IQ-EQ), he recently returned to the Isle of Man to take up the role of managing director of the Sancus Group local office.

Graeme Easton, chairman, said: "I would like to welcome Graham as the new CEO of the company. Graham was selected following a rigorous selection process organised with an external consultant. His wide range of experience and management credentials position him well to provide the leadership required to deliver the next phase of our strategy.

"Both personally and on behalf of the Board I would like to thank Gordon for his many years' service and commitment to the company. Gordon joined the group in 1988 and during that time has held various roles within the Hansard Group and worked tirelessly for the company. We will continue to work closely with Gordon during the coming months to ensure a seamless transition to his successor."

Graham Sheward said: "I am delighted to be joining the company at such an exciting time. I look forward to working with Graeme and the Board, the management team and my new colleagues to build on the impressive Company legacy to ensure a successful and sustainable future."

Gordon Marr said: "It has been a privilege to work with the Company for more than three decades and grow with it from general counsel and company secretary through to ultimately serving as CEO for eight years.

Having overseen the successful grant of a licence in Japan, I feel comfortable in retiring knowing the business is in good shape and positioned for growth.

I would like to thank staff in all our locations for their dedication and hard work. I would also like to thank my fellow executive and non-executive Board colleagues for their support."