The Credit Services Association (CSA) the trade association for the debt collection industry, has made a series of significant changes to its future governance which will see the CSA Board led by a new, independent Chair.

The changes mean that those seeking future election to the post of Independent Chair cannot be a current practitioner, bringing the appointment more in line with corporate governance best practice. It also gives the CSA the opportunity to appoint an individual with a wide range of skills and experience to complement those already found within the CSA membership.

John Ricketts, former Chair, will be superseded by Tom Chandos, the CSA’s current Senior Independent Director. Lord Chandos will serve an initial two-year term, while Ricketts has been reappointed to the CSA Board. Nick Cherry will continue in the role of Deputy-Chair for an additional term of two years.

The appointment of an Independent Chair will similarly ensure true independence from the distinct debt purchase and debt collection sectors which are becoming increasingly separate and often pursuing different interests.

Under the new governance regime agreed at the Annual General Meeting (AGM), the Chair will oversee a Board of Directors who will share responsibility across the various CSA committees. The Board now comprises:

· Denise Crossley, CEO of Lantern Debt Recovery Services. Denise, who was named Business Leader of the Year at the 2018 Women in Credit Awards, has vast experience in the sector, and valuable knowledge of the regulatory landscape.

· John Ricketts, Managing Director of Ardent Credit Services. John has been involved in the credit services industry for more than 40 years, and served as a director for the past 25 years at debt buyers or Debt Collection Agencies (DCAs). In 2019, John was recognised for his “Outstanding Contribution to Industry” at Credit Strategy’s Collections and Customer Service Awards.

Crossley and Ricketts who had both served a maximum of three terms, were invited to stand for a further term of three years in order to maintain a level of knowledge consistency during the period of transition to an Independent Chair. The two new members of the Board are:

· Andrew Bunting, of Arvato Financial Solutions. Andrew has worked the debt recovery sector for over 20 years and held a diverse range of positions within some of the sectors most prominent firms. For the last five years Andrew has held an Executive Director position within Arvato, with responsibility for Compliance Oversight.

· Craig Hinchliffe, CFO of Asset Collections and Investigations Ltd, part of Perch Group. Craig has some ten years’ experience in the DCA/Debt Purchase sector, both within large global businesses as well as small start-ups.

Peter Wallwork, the CSA’s CEO, says the transition to an Independent Chair will bring the Association’s new regime in line with the principles of good governance: “ An Independent Chair is the appropriate arrangement for changing nature of the Association, our membership and the regulatory landscape within which those member companies are working.”

Wallwork welcomed the new members to the Board at the AGM on 19 March, and he thanked former CSA Board directors Sara de Tute and Eddie Nott for their services prior to stepping down: “We would like to thank both Board members for all the hard work and time that they have devoted to the Association during their tenures as directors.”

“We also welcome the new Board Directors and look forward to the knowledge and experience they bring to the table in helping navigate our industry through future challenges.”

Following Tom Chandos’ two-year term, subsequent Independent Chairs will be eligible for one term of three years. This will be subject to annual re-election by those members entitled to vote at the AGM in line with current governance trends to ensure accountability to CSA members.