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Partners names new CEO to replace Naomi Ballantyne

Partners has chosen to make an external appointment to fill the chief executive role being vacated by founder and managing director Naomi Ballantyne.

Wednesday, December 13th 2023, 2:00PM 3 Comments

Michael Weston will take over leading Partners Life from early March next year.

He will come to Partners Life directly from his role as Asia, Head of Strategy and Transformation for Manulife, based in Hong Kong.

Partners Life chairman Jim Minto says “Michael’s extensive background in financial services operational, transformational, and strategy roles, coupled with his in-depth knowledge of multiple international markets makes him an ideal candidate to continue Partners Life’s journey of using intelligent innovation and excellent execution to deliver outstanding customer and stakeholder value.”

Naomi Ballantyne believes that Weston will fit perfectly into the Partners Life culture of kindness and restlessness that she believes epitomises Partners Life.

“Michael will have an outstanding executive team around and behind him, who are excited to help him move Partners Life into its next phase of growth. I feel extremely content that Partners Life and all of its people will be in very good hands with Michael at the helm and I can’t wait to watch their progress from the retirement side-lines.”

Weston, who is originally Australian, and his Kiwi wife are excited to be ‘’coming home’’ to New Zealand and to Partners Life.

“I am honoured to have been appointed as the new CEO. I admire Naomi’s contribution to the insurance industry and the incredible foundation built by her and the team at Partners Life. I am privileged to join a team committed to making a difference for customers and the community, driving growth while delivering value for the parent, Dai-ichi Life.”

He has been with Manulife for eight years; prior to that he was with ANZ in Australia and Hong Kong for two years. Earlier in his career spent 11 years with the Australian Army as an army officer.

Weston takes over on March 4, and Ballantyne will retire on March 31.

She will continue her relationship with Dai-ichi Life Group in an advisory role for the Asia Pacific region.

Tags: Michael Weston Naomi Ballantyne Partners Life

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Comments from our readers

On 14 December 2023 at 12:05 pm terry madsen said:
PL have clearly had some success and best wishes to Naomi. Like all businesses I am sure it has not all been a bed of roses but they have done much better than many detractors anticipated.

There is some interesting academic research on business succession from a founder-CEO. Some research shows bringing in an external successor with industry knowledge is worthwhile based on empirical studies.
On 14 December 2023 at 1:41 pm pat neilson said:
Certainly an amazing job from a start up by Naomi.

The business and its environment have changed and will change so probably good to bring in a new CEO.

The days of secret sauce seem to be over but NZ needs credible insurers so let us hope the new CEO will be able to re forge the business.

Aussies running Nz insurers sometimes works but we have seen with many when it does not.

Be interesting how the leadership team is reshaped.
On 15 December 2023 at 11:35 am cole shelton said:
I am stating the obvious that the new PL CEO has big shoes to step into but the life sector needs to have quality suppliers to provide choice for customers and advisers.

As many have said PL brought energy to the market and Naomi will be missed. The have had a few challenges with price rises in recent years and tighter underwriting as they went from a start up seeking growth to focus more on profits.

The market has reacted as one would expect and PL have lost significant market share I understand.

Some of the comments about PL and their supporters (PL secret sauce and accusing some PL adviser cheerleaders of drinking Koolaid) have been not ideal but there has been some elements of hubris.

Not many have achieved as much as Naomi but the successor has challenges and will need to reshape the business.

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