Línea Directa Aseguradora board of director appoints Patricia Ayuela as the groups´s new CEO
- After 27 years on the management team at Línea Directa, and the last 11 years at the head of the company, Miguel Ángel Merino is passing the baton to Patricia Ayuela as the new CEO of Línea Directa Aseguradora.
- The new CEO, Patricia Ayuela, is moving on from her role as Director of Motor and Digital Transformation, having led that department since 2016.
- The new CEO assumes her new responsibilities as of today, 17 February, continuing her long and robust professional career in the insurance and financial world, most of it at Línea Directa, where she has held various management positions that gave her in-depth knowledge of the business and allowed her to participate in all strategic decisions.
- Patricia Ayuela is becoming the fourth CEO in the history of the company and one of the few women at the head of publicly traded companies in Spain. With her appointment, the Board of Directors of Línea Directa is now made up of 57% women.
- Miguel Ángel Merino is leaving the company after an extensive and brilliant career at Línea Directa as one of the leading insurers in the Spanish market. He has been an example of efficiency, growth and innovation.
- As a result of its management and leadership, Línea Directa has become the 5th largest car insurer in Spain, the 12th largest in home insurance and has launched a 100% digital health insurance policy under the Vivaz brand. In his more than 11 years at the helm of the company, Línea Directa has increased its premium income by 32%, its customer portfolio by 86% and gross profit by almost 54%.
- Miguel Ángel Merino, who was part of the team that launched Línea Directa on the market in 1995, will continue to be involved with the company, contributing his valuable knowledge.
Madrid, 17 February 2022.- The Board of Directors of Línea Directa Aseguradora, which met today, has appointed Patricia Ayuela as the new Chief Executive Officer of the company. Patricia Ayuela, until now Director of the Motor and Digital Transformation Area, has spent the last six years at the helm of the company’s core business, which accounts for almost 83% of the Group’s turnover. During this time, she has reached important milestones such as a 17.5% increase in premiums in the Motor business, versus 4% in the market during the same period, and has driven the launch of highly innovative products such as Llámalo X (the first insurance policy that includes a car) and the Respira Policy (the first insurance policy for electric cars with a flat rate launched in 2016). In addition, while she was managing digitalisation, the Group’s portfolio of policyholders operating through digital channels has now reached 85% of customers.
Patricia Ayuela (Oviedo, 1975) has spent most of her professional career at Línea Directa Aseguradora, which she joined in 2003. A graduate in Industrial Engineering from the Universidad Pontificia Comillas ICAI ICADE, holder of an EMBA from IESE and with studies at Harvard Business School, the University of Michigan and the Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania, throughout these almost 20 years in the Group, she has held various management positions that have given her a broad and very deep knowledge of the company, the business and the insurance industry. During this time she has managed the Group’s main lines of business (Motor and Home) and has participated in the design, execution, and leadership of the strategic decisions of Línea Directa Aseguradora.
A member of the Management Committee of Línea Directa Aseguradora since 2008, she was previously responsible for Customer Loyalty (2003-2007) and Project and Strategy Corporate Management (2007-2008). Subsequently, she took over Quality Management (2008-2009) and in 2009 she went on to lead the Household Business Line, which was recently created at that time and which under her management increased its customer portfolio fivefold, rising 18 spots in the premium ranking and reaching the break-even point in this division, today one of the Group’s main growth levers.
Patricia Ayuela was appointed Director of Motor (which includes Car, Motorcycle, Business and the International line) in 2016, thus taking charge of the Company’s main line of business, which represents close to 38% of the Group’s business. Since then, the Motor customer portfolio has grown by more than 550,000 policies and the growth in premium income in that period has been 17%, quadrupling the market (+4%). As Director of this Area, she has launched innovative products that place the company at the forefront of some of the biggest challenges facing the insurance industry, namely, Llámalo X, the first insurance policy that includes a car, and the Respira Policy for electric vehicles, which has given Línea Directa Aseguradora an advantageous position in this niche with a market share in new cars for private individuals of 14%.
In 2017, Patricia Ayuela added the Digital Transformation Department to her responsibilities with the aim of accelerating the digitalisation of Línea Directa Aseguradora, an area in which the Group has become a leader in the Spanish insurance industry. Currently, 85% of customers already interact with the company and carry out their transactions through digital channels, such as the website and the mobile app, and services such as digitally filing claims and digital towing requests have reached very high levels of penetration.
Mr. Alfonso Botín, Chairman of Línea Directa Aseguradora, said: “The Board of Directors has unanimously expressed its recognition and gratitude to Miguel Ángel Merino for a successful professional career of more than 25 years dedicated to Línea Directa, and has especially highlighted his work over the last 11 years at the helm of the company as its CEO. During this time, Miguel Ángel has led the company with outstanding success, one of the most notable milestones being the offering of Línea Directa on the stock market in April 2021, with one of the best stock market debuts in recent years. Miguel Ángel’s work at the helm of Línea Directa has positioned the company as one of the best insurers in the country in terms of profitability, growth and quality. Miguel Ángel Merino will continue to be linked to the insurer as the company will benefit from his valuable advice. In addition, Patricia Ayuela -added the Chairman- is a brilliant executive who has been part of the Management team for over 14 years, during which she has demonstrated her enormous value at the head of Motor and Digital Transformation, participating in all the strategic decisions and leading the main challenges faced by the company”.
The incorporation of Patricia Ayuela as the new CEO opens a new and ambitious stage where Línea Directa Aseguradora will continue to promote an innovative and differentiated business model, based on the talent of its people, technology and service quality.
With her appointment, the Board of Directors of Línea Directa now made up of 57% women, and Patricia Ayuela is becoming one of the few female CEOs of publicly traded companies in Spain.
As Patricia Ayuela herself commented after her appointment: “Today is a day of great satisfaction but also of the utmost responsibility to face a challenge of this magnitude. It is a privilege to continue the work that has been carried out so successfully by Miguel Ángel Merino, to whom I am very grateful for his kind words when handing over the baton. I would also like to thank the Board of Directors for their confidence and support. My priorities will be to drive profitable and sustainable growth that generates high shareholder value, fostering the talent and capacity for innovation that have always set us apart in order to continue to surprise the market”.
Miguel Ángel Merino, successful management
For the last one 11 and a half years, Miguel Ángel Merino has led Línea Directa, being the best example of the company’s corporate values and the person mainly responsible for making Línea Directa a benchmark entity in the Spanish insurance market, very well-positioned to face new opportunities and significant challenges.
During the years under Miguel Ángel Merino’s management, Línea Directa has taken a giant step towards becoming a multi-branch group (Motor, Home and Health). In Home insurance, it has acquired more than 600,000 new customers in these eleven years. In Motor, the company has grown by 851,000 new policyholders (+51%). In Health, in just four years, the company, through its Vivaz brand, already has more than 100,000 customers. In terms of revenues, the Group has grown 32%, with a turnover of close to 900 million euros. And in the same period the company has obtained a cumulative gross profit of more than 1.6 billion euros, with a growth of nearly 54% compared to his first year at the helm of the company. And in terms of job creation, the workforce has grown by almost 700 people, a 36% increase in professionals in the last decade.
Miguel Ángel Merino (Madrid, 1959) has spent most of his professional career at Línea Directa Aseguradora. He joined this company 1995 as Director of the Accident Management Area, forming part of the small group of people who participated in the creation of the company.
In 2007 he took charge of Línea Directa Asistencia, a service subsidiary of the Línea Directa Group. Under his management, the company obtained magnificent results, increasing its profit notably thanks to process optimisation and commitment to excellence and quality.
In 2010 the Board of Directors appointed him Managing Director of Línea Directa, replacing María Dolores Dancausa, currently CEO of Bankinter; and in 2014 he was appointed CEO of the Línea Directa Group. In addition, since 2014 he has held the position of Vice-Chairman of the Línea Directa Foundation, a benchmark in road safety in Spain.