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Direct Line share price: Group appoints new finance chief

Direct Line Group (LON:DLG) has appointed a new finance chief, the blue-chip insurer has reported. The update comes after the insurance company, which is dropping out of the FTSE 100 this month, promoted its chief financial officer Penny James to the top job earlier this year.

Direct Line’s share price has fallen deep into the red in London this morning, having given up 1.62 percent to 297.00p as of 08:53 BST. The stock is underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.39 percent lower at 7,338.81 points. The group’s shares have given up just under five percent of their value over the past year, as compared with about a 0.5-percent gain in the Footsie.

Direct Line appoints CFO

Direct Line announced in a statement this morning that  Tim Harris will join the company as a chief financial officer on October 1. His previous roles include deputy CEO and group finance director of the Royal London Group until July 12. Before joining Royal London in 2014, he had been group CFO of Torus Insurance, Deputy Group CFO and Chief Capital Officer of Aviva (LON:AV) and a Partner in the Global Capital Markets practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“I am delighted to welcome Tim to the Direct Line Group Board, which will benefit from his many years of experience as a leading finance director in the insurance industry,” Direct Line’s chairman Mike Biggs commented in the statement.

Analyst ratings update

Shore Capital reaffirmed the London-listed insurer as a ‘buy’ today, without specifying a target on the Direct Line share price, while Peel Hunt reaffirmed the company as an ‘add’. According to MarketBeat, the company currently has a consensus ‘hold’ rating and an average valuation of 354.36p.

Direct Line is scheduled to update investors on its third-quarter performance on November 5.

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