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The Fire Protection Association announces new chair of its board – John Smeaton

Thursday 28th February 2019

Fire Protection Association (FPA) Press Release

The UK’s national fire safety organisation, the Fire Protection Association is proud to announce John Smeaton as its new chair.


John Smeaton has 40 years experience in the commercial property market, most recently as Head of Commercial Property Underwriting, Commercial Liability Underwriting and Risk Management for Aviva. He sat on the Association of British Insurers (ABI) property committee and the advisory boards of Pool Re. He was a non-executive director of the Fire Protection Association for ten years and worked as interim managing director for six months in 2017-18.


Since leaving Aviva, John carried out a commercial underwriting strategy review for AXA, and in addition to his new chair position will continue to be actively engaged in other consultancy work. John also has strong contacts with the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), whose Underwriting Faculty presented him with a Special Achievement Award in 2011 for his contribution to leadership, coaching, mentoring and training within the insurance Industry.


Jonathan O’Neill, the Fire Protection Association’s managing director said:


“We’re delighted to welcome back John as an old friend of the Fire Protection Association (FPA). He was chosen by the board as someone with a breadth of experience, market expertise and credibility, and strategic business acumen, as well as of course for his leadership style and commitment to a long term vision for the FPA.”


John Smeaton said:


“This is a great opportunity for me to learn how to be a good chair in a company that I admire, on subject matter that inspires me and with leading experts in their field. I’d like to think that being responsible for underwriting and risk management strategy at one of the largest UK insurers will help me contribute strong leadership and guidance.


I want to learn how to be a good chair and hope to use my experience to manage a very strong board of high quality individuals. I’d like to maintain a clear focus on what we’re trying to achieve, to successfully grow the business and continue to strive towards being the best at what we do.


The Fire Protection Association’s been at the forefront of providing advice and guidance to the government via the Hackitt Review, and to insurers via the ABI following extensive testing. It must continue to be the first point of call for fire protection advice, guidance, training, testing and education."

John Smeaton’s three year tenure started at the end of January 2019. He succeeds Chris Hanks who was chair of the Fire Protection Association for nine years.

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