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WESLEYAN APPOINTS NEW CHIEF FINANCE OFFICER

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Wesleyan Appoints new Chief Finance Officer

Wesleyan, the mutual financial services provider, has appointed Ahmed Farooq as its new Chief Finance Officer (CFO). This is an Executive Management position reporting to the Group Chief Executive.

In his new role, Ahmed will oversee all aspects of the financial strength and performance of the business as part of the company’s ambitious growth plans in its target markets of doctors, dentists, lawyers and teachers. He takes responsibility for Finance, Actuarial and Investments divisions.

Wesleyan Group Chief Executive, Dr Craig Errington said: “Our aim is to make us the provider of choice in our specialist markets. We intend to build on our success of the past and our unique position of financial strength to enable us to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead.

“Ahmed’s extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of our business will be invaluable to us as we look to achieve our ambitions and continue to deliver outstanding value and results to our members.”

Ahmed added: “I’ve been part of the incredible story taking place here at the Wesleyan for the last five years. That success has been achieved by having a clear strategy, sound financial management and by putting the customer at the heart of what we do.

“I’m delighted to be taking on this new role at such an exciting time of strategic development and growth. Being part of a business that values and nurtures talent was one of the key reasons I joined the Wesleyan.”

Having headed up the finance divisions of both Resolution PLC and the Pearl Group, Ahmed joined the Wesleyan in 2010. Prior to his appointment he was Managing Director of the General Insurance business within the group. He is also Chair of the Birmingham Business Professional Services Board.

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Pandemic ‘shecession’ reverses women’s workplace gains

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Pandemic 'shecession' reverses women's workplace gains 1

By Anuradha Nagaraj

(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The coronavirus pandemic reversed women’s workplace gains in many of the world’s wealthiest countries as the burden of childcare rose and female-dominated sectors shed jobs, according to research released on Tuesday.

Women were more likely than men to lose their jobs in 17 of the 24 rich countries where unemployment rose last year, according to the latest annual PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Women in Work Index.

Jobs in female-dominated sectors like marketing and communications were more likely to be lost than roles in finance, which are more likely to be held by men, said the report, calling the slowdown a “shecession”.

Meanwhile, women were spending on average 7.7 more hours a week than men on unpaid childcare, a “second shift” that is nearly the equivalent of a full-time job and risks forcing some out of paid work altogether, it found.

“Although jobs will return when economies bounce back, they will not necessarily be the same jobs,” said Larice Stielow, senior economist at PwC.

“If we don’t have policies in place to directly address the unequal burden of care, and to enable more women to enter jobs in growing sectors of the economy, women will return to fewer hours, lower-skilled, and lower paid jobs.”

The report, which looked at 33 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) club of rich nations, said progress towards gender equality at work would not begin to recover until 2022.

Even then, the pace of progress would need to double if rich countries were to make up the losses by 2030, it said, calling on governments and businesses to improve access to growth sectors such as artificial intelligence and renewable energy.

Laura Hinton, chief people officer at PwC, said it was “paramount that gender pay gap reporting is prioritised, with targeted action plans put in place as businesses focus on building back better and fairer”.

Britain has required employers with more than 250 staff to submit gender pay gap figures every year since 2017 in a bid to reduce pay disparities, but last year it suspended the requirement due to the coronavirus pandemic.

(Reporting by Anuradha Nagaraj @AnuraNagaraj; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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German January exports to UK fell 30% year-on-year as Brexit hit – Stats Office

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German January exports to UK fell 30% year-on-year as Brexit hit - Stats Office 2

BERLIN (Reuters) – German exports to the United Kingdom fell by 30% year-on-year in January “due to Brexit effects”, preliminary trade figures released by the Federal Statistics Office on Tuesday showed.

In 2020, German exports to the UK fell by 15.5% compared to 2019, recording the biggest year-on-year decline since the financial and economic crisis in 2009, when they fell by 17.0%, the Office said.

“Since 2016 – the year of the Brexit referendum – German exports to the UK have steadily declined,” the Office said in a statement.

In 2015 German exports to the UK amounted to 89.0 billion euros. In 2020, German they totalled 66.9 billion euros.

Imports to Germany from the UK totalled 34.7 billion euros in 2020, down 9.6 % compared to 2019.

(Reporting by Paul Carrel; Editing by Madeline Chambers)

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German unemployment unexpectedly rises in February

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German unemployment unexpectedly rises in February 3

BERLIN (Reuters) – German unemployment rose in February for the first time since last June, data showed on Tuesday, dashing expectations for a fall as lockdown measures to suppress the coronavirus case load held back Europe’s largest economy.

The Labour Office said the number of people out of work rose by 9,000 in seasonally adjusted terms to 2.752 million. A Reuters poll had forecast a fall of 13,000.

“Kurzarbeit (shortened working hours) continues to secure employment on a large scale and prevent unemployment,” Labour Office chief Detlef Scheele said in a statement, adding: “Individual sectors are feeling the effects of the lockdown.”

Germany has been in lockdown since November, and measures were tightened in mid-December, as it battles a second wave of the virus. Chancellor Angela Merkel has said new variants of COVID-19 risk a third wave of infections.

The unemployment rate remained unchanged compared with the previous month at 6.0%.

The labour agency said some 2.39 million employees were on shortened working hours in December under the government’s Kurzarbeit scheme designed to avoid mass layoffs during downturns by offering companies subsidies to keep workers on the payroll.

After peaking at some 6 million last April, the number of people on Kurzarbeit fell before rising again in November as lockdown measures kicked in, the Office said.

(Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Madeline Chambers)

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