Career Highlights

2014 - 2017 | Chairman

Avanti Group Solutions

2000 - 2013 | Group Chief Exec


1997 - 2000 | Managing Director

GR Capital, Consolidated Insurance

1993 - 1997 | Executive Director, Customer Services

Frizzell Bank

1989 - 1993 | Director, Affinity Marketing

Frizzell Group

1986 - 1989 | Head of Insurance Marketing


1980 - 1986 | Various roles in Accountancy, Fund Management and Life Insurance Sales

Aziz Mentor - UK

A seasoned chairman and focused leader, with extensive experience in Health Insurance. Des’ leadership legacy is built on enabling rapid growth whilst simultaneously evolving every aspect of the business model. He has achieved phenomenal cultural integration, ‘world class’ customer service, a strong adherence to a heavily regulated environment and a leadership team that consistently measured favourably against other high performing companies in the UK.

Specific Expertise

  • leadership brand development
  • combining ‘Fit it’ and ‘Grow it’ strategies
  • financial stewardship and planning
  • large development programmes
  • organisation alignment and transformation
  • customer focus
  • communicating with clarity across stakeholders
  • M&A reasoning and risk analysis
  • culture, governance structures, disciplines and strategies

Career history

Beginning his career with various roles spanning finance to sales, Des succeeded to the role of Head of Insurance Marketing for Citibank in 1986. He then worked in subsequent Director role with Frizzell Bank for 8 years, before further exploiting and deepening his insights as Managing Director for GE Capital. As Group Chief Executive for SimplyHealth for 13 years, his leadership saw its evolution into the UK’s largest health insurer. Des expertly calibrated a company environment based on cultural integration and internalised customer focus. Latterly, he enjoyed his role as Chairman for Avanti Group Solutions.

Current Portfolio

Since stepping back from full time corporate life, Des has chaired one of the most remarkable hospitals in the UK for the last 5 years – the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability, which looks after people who have suffered a catastrophic brain injury or a degenerative neurological disease.

He also has the privilege of being President of the Institute of Customer Service (since 2011) and Strategy Adviser and Ambassador for the British Citizen Awards (since 2016).

Personal Interests


the gym

classical music

public speaking

Key Influencers

“Major General Brian Pennicott – who combined sharp objective focus with an understanding of how to deliver it successfully and repeatedly through people.

Bishops Christopher Herbert – who could rise above an ego centred argument to see the larger picture but who also understood the importance of detail and minutia.”

Mentoring Experience

“I have mentored new Chief Executives of institutes, businessess, and charities whilst employed in my own career. Some of these relationships are over 10-15 years old.

My experience suggest that a relationship of trust, honesty and listening is a productive one. When it works, it is remarkably beneficial for both parties. When it doesn’t, just stop.”



South Central

Happy to travel the UK for a good relationship