Paul Hudson (pictured), chief executive officer of income protection provider Cirencester Friendly, is set to retire in April 2023, at which point he will have been at the helm for 26 years.

The process to find a new CEO has now commenced and to provide continuity during the transition current chairman, John Quinn will serve for an extra year until June 2023.

Hudson first joined the financial services industry in 1974 and in 1997 was appointed chief executive of Cirencester Friendly and has successfully steered the Society from strength to strength ever since.

Under Hudson’s leadership membership has grown from around 13,000 in 1997 to in excess of 43,000 today with total funds increasing from £23m to almost £160m in 2020. Premium income has also grown from under £2m in 1997 to over £21m at the end of 2020.

Hudson said: “I have been extremely proud to have served as chief executive of Cirencester Friendly since 1997.

“It has been an incredible journey growing the business significantly in that time. I have worked alongside very many fantastic people who have shared my vision to deliver great protection products to those who need them most. It has been a real team effort.

“Cirencester Friendly is now a very different business to the one I joined all those years ago, but it continues to embrace the customer centric mutual ideals on which it was founded back in 1890. I will leave a wonderfully capable group of people and I am confident the Society will continue to prosper in the years to come. The time comes for everyone to hand over and that time has now arrived for me to pass the baton to new leadership”.

John Quinn, chairman of the board at Cirencester Friendly said: ”Since becoming Cirencester Friendly’s Chief Executive in 1997, Paul Hudson has led a transformation of the business. New products have been developed and successfully launched and membership has grown remarkably.

“Our business growth has always been sustainable, leading to a significant expansion of our balance sheet. On his watch Cirencester Friendly has become a leader in the field of income protection.

“Above all, Paul has put the interest of our members and high-quality service at the heart of everything we do. He will be a very hard act to follow, but the strong foundations he has laid mean that we view the Society’s future with great confidence.”