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Direct Line hires former Virgin Atlantic IT chief as CIO

Ash Jokhoo will be joining the insurance company as a member of the executive board

Direct Line Group (DLG) has announced the appointment of Ash Jokhoo as chief information officer (CIO). He will join the insurance company on 15 November 2021.

Jokhoo will become a member of its executive committee, subject to regulatory approval. Announcing the new hire on professional social networking site LinkedIn, DLG chief executive Penny Jones said the appointment was an indication of the firm’s commitment to technology.

“With technology and data at the heart of DLG’s business transformation, it’s right that CIO is now an [executive] role, putting Ash at the centre of our business,” she wrote.

According to Jones, Jokhoo’s experience in devising and executing transformation strategies and focus on customer experience made him “the ideal choice” as a candidate.

“Building on the foundations laid by our successful technology transformation programme of the last two years, he will play a lead role in our journey to becoming an increasingly agile company, underpinned by customer-focused products and technology that are digitally enabled,” the chief executive added.

Jokhoo joins DLG from Virgin Atlantic, where he served as chief data and information officer with accountability for the global technology transformation for Virgin Atlantic Airways and Virgin Holidays. The executive talked about how Virgin used innovation to ensure survival during Covid-19 at Computer Weekly’s annual leadership event UKtech50 and how having a belief in the strategy and principles applied to technology and business have ensured the company stays afloat during the pandemic.

Prior to Virgin Atlantic, he was CIO for the UK and Ireland at Centrica, and has also held senior roles at TalkTalk and BT. Commenting on his new role at Direct Line, Jokhoo said: “It’s great to be joining an organisation that has truly put technology and data at the heart of its vision for the future.”

When announcing the company’s half-year results in August, Jones noted that Direct Line was at “an exciting and pivotal point for the business” regarding its current technology setup. “We’ve completed the majority of our tech transformation, and we’re starting to reap the benefits of what the new systems offer us,” she said at the time.

The new CIO at Direct Line replaces Triona O'Keeffe, who stepped down in July 2021 after nearly five years at the company to join the London Stock Exchange as chief information officer with a focus on data and analytics.

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