Who could possibly fill the giant boots of outgoing BIBA boss-man Eric (Big G) Gallbreath? That is the question currently exercising BIBA chairperson Andy Homer who has been tasked with finding a successor to his lame-duck quitting ceo. Should alternative candidates not suggest themselves, who knows, he might even have to take on the role himself.

Describing his ten-year stint as the ‘face’ of BIBA as “amazing”, Gallbreath noted wistfully that he had been “instrumental in supporting the [recent Deloitte] strategic review”. He insisted, however, that he was committed to sticking around until BIBA have found someone better able to “take the association forward,” before going on to say, only slightly prematurely “I believe it is the right time to hand over the reins to a new chief executive.”

Reporting Big G’s hook slinging plans, Post Magazine anticipated that some in the market may not be too sad to see the back of him. “He will be missed by brokers,” the paper predicted, but “others” (not brokers?) “have welcomed the decision and the prospect of a new face leading the association into a new era.”

Who might these sinister others be? Others who apparently revel in the demise of a great champion of the ordinary hard working broker? On this potentially sensitive point, the paper declines to descend into the banal realms of specificity.

Andy Homer said: “We are all obviously disappointed that Eric will be leaving.” Running a lingering eye over one of the many Putinesque topless action-man portraits of EG that adorn the walls of BIBA’s Bevis Marks HQ he added admiringly “he will be leaving the organisation in excellent shape.”

Bankstone News will certainly miss old Eric whose no-nonsense straight-talking style has always been a breath of air in the convention-bound world of insurance broking.

Who could forget – for instance – when Eric gave bankers a damn good kicking?

When he literally wowed the crowds at this year’s BIBA conference?

When he refused to bury his head in the snow?

When he got it in the neck from Ellen Bennett?

When he made beautiful music with Barbie Bradshaw?

When he argued controversially that insurance is not the same as banking?

When he single-handledly took on the dark forces of cliché mongery?

When he lamb-basted insurers’ niggardly claims paying antics?

Or when he took the FSA to task over the outrageous costs of regulation?

Not us – we’ve forgotten already!


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