Universal Investment, one of Europe's leading fund service platforms and Super ManCos, has grown dynamically in recent years and is taking diversity seriously. On 24 October, the company announced the appointment of Francesca McDonagh as the new Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO). She will take up her new position on 1 January 2024. David Blumer, who has led the company as Group Interim CEO for the past five months, will return as Chairman from the beginning of next year and support Francesca McDonagh and the management team as Universal Investment continues to grow.
Francesca McDonagh grew up in London as the child of an Irish father and a Greek mother. During her 25-year career, she has held international leadership roles in the financial services sector, focussing on growth, client service and technology development. Most recently, she was Chief Operating Officer of Credit Suisse Group, where she led several strategic initiatives. She was also jointly responsible for the integration of the bank into the UBS Group at the beginning of this year.
Prior to this, she led the successful repositioning of Bank of Ireland over a five-year period as Group CEO. During this time she completed two major acquisitions, realigned the culture, enhanced customer service and developed a more scalable digital platform. During this time, she also championed Bank of Ireland's goal of achieving a 50:50 gender balance in management and leadership appointments by 2021.
Prior to her role as CEO of Bank of Ireland, Francesca McDonagh held various international leadership roles at HSBC, including heading up the bank's European private client and wealth management business.
Aiming for further growth
For her new role, Francesca McDonagh has set herself the goal of growth through geographic expansion and M&A in order to expand the offering for existing and new clients. The shareholders of the Universal Investment Group, Montagu and CPP Investments, are supporting her in this endeavour.
The company has grown strongly in recent years, both organically and through acquisitions, with which the fund service platform has expanded its presence in the most important European fund domiciles.
Some time ago, we wanted to know how the company is positioning itself to retain the best talent . We spoke to Katja Müller, Chief Customer Officer bei Universal Investment at Frankfurt.