The Financial Ombudsman Service has appointed Nausicaa Delfas as its interim chief executive and chief ombudsman after Caroline Wayman stepped down last month amid a backlog of complaints.
Delfas joins the organisation from the Financial Conduct Authority, where she is currently the executive director of international and interim chief operating officer.
She has previously held many senior roles at the FCA, including in enforcement, supervision, risk and policy.
According to the Fos, she has led innovative and complex transformational initiatives, including most recently the FCA’s response to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
Previously she has worked on internal transformation at the FCA, including the transfer of consumer credit regulation to the regulator from the Office of Fair Trading in 2014.
She is also a solicitor, having trained and qualified at City law firm Freshfields in London.
Delfas officially takes up the role on May 17 and will be in post while the Fos’s board carries out an open recruitment process for a permanent chief executive and chief ombudsman.
Delfas takes over from Caroline Wayman, who stepped down after it was revealed that the ombudsman was facing a backlog of 158,000 complaints.
Wayman publicly announced the decision via LinkedIn saying that it had been an "honour and a privilege to have led the service".
She held the role of chief executive and chief ombudsman for seven years but has been at the Fos for a total of 22 years.
Delfas said: “The Financial Ombudsman Service plays an essential role in ensuring the financial system works for everyone - financial services firms, consumers and businesses.
“Building on Caroline Wayman’s legacy, my priority will be to lead the Financial Ombudsman Service to ensure we deliver an effective and reliable service.”
Chairman Baroness Zahida Manzoor said Delfas brings a “wealth of experience” and a “firm understanding” of the challenges that lie ahead.
Manzoor said: “The service enters this financial year ready to move beyond PPI and focussed on providing a timely and efficient service to our customers.
"And we do so, looking ahead, albeit cautiously, to more positive times as we emerge from a global pandemic. The board, the executive team and I are looking forward to working with Nausicaa.”
She added: “As we welcome Nausicaa’s appointment, we say goodbye, of course, to Caroline Wayman, whose departure comes at the end of a long career at the Ombudsman Service.
“Caroline has led the service through significant milestones, most recently, of course, during a global pandemic, ensuring operational resilience and balancing the dual responsibilities of serving customers and supporting staff, during the most challenging of times.
“On behalf of the board, the executive team and everyone at the service, we wish Caroline the very best in her future endeavours.”
Until Delfas takes up her appointment, Julia Cavanagh, chief financial officer at the Fos will be acting chief executive and Garry Wilkinson, principal ombudsman and director of investigation, will be acting chief ombudsman.