The Financial Conducts Authority (FCA) has named Christopher Woolard as its interim chief executive.
Woolard steps into the role while the regulator searches for a successor to former chief executive Andrew Bailey, who is to become the next governor of the Bank of England.
Woolard has been the watchdog’s head of strategy for seven years. He arrived at the FCA at its inception after the scrapping of the Financial Services Authority in 2013. Prior to that he worked at Ofcom, the BBC, and in the civil service.
He is among the frontrunners to succeed Bailey full-time, alongside FCA head of supervision Megan Butler.
“We have a huge job to do,” says Woolard of his appointment. “I’m looking forward to working with the Board and colleagues across the FCA as we continue to deliver the FCA’s mission.”
Woolard takes the helm at a turbulent time for the financial regulator. It announced late last year that 2019 was a record year for the handing out of regulatory penalties, with the FCA issuing six times as many as in 2018.
Earlier this month the FCA came under fire for failing to keep track of investment fund suspensions, following an investigation from the Financial Times.
In November 2019 reports revealed that workers at its new Stratford office had been verbally abusing catering and security staff, and in some cases were defecating on the floors of toilets.
From a technological standpoint, the FCA has just announced plans to shake-up its internal handling of data.