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Motability Operations appoints former Tory minister as new chairman

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The commercial arm of the Motability Scheme has appointed a new chairman after Neil Johnson, who formerly held the role, departed at the end of last month.

Sir Stephen O’Brien is the new chairman for Motability Operations and began his role earlier this month.

Johnson and Motability Operations have both been under the spotlight recently for the controversial remuneration policies of the company, which included paying its chief executive Mike Betts £1.7m in 2017.

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Parliamentary select committees and the National Audit Office have since launched investigations into how the mobility equipment leasing scheme is run and published a report last year recommending a series of reforms.

O’Brien, who is a former Conservative MP, joined the board as chairman-designate in January.

As well as his role as a MP he is the former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs & Emergency Relief Coordinator.

Prior to this role, while MP for Eddisbury, he served as Permanent Under-Secretary of State for International Development in the Coalition Government, as well as in a series of shadow ministerial roles before that.

Before entering politics, O’Brien was International Director and Group Secretary of FTSE 100 listed global building materials company, Redland plc, and before that a solicitor with Freshfields in the City of London.

He said: “I am delighted to be joining Motability Operations Group. This is an excellent company delivering first class service to meet the needs of our 630,000 customers.

“I look forward to contributing to the Scheme’s further success, and working with the whole Board to deliver the strategy.”

Outgoing chairman, Johnson, retired in March after nearly 18 years’ service at Motability.

On behalf of Motability’s board, O’Brien said: “Neil guided the transformation of the business into a successful professional and commercial operation, and the board has benefited greatly from his skills and experience.”

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