James has held a range of executive and non-executive roles across the financial services, media, business services and software sectors, mostly within FTSE 100 and publicly-listed companies. He is currently a member of the Finance Committee of the Delegacy of Oxford University Press.
During his non-executive career, James was Senior Independent Director of Compass Group plc, from 2007 to 2013; Chair of Misys plc, from 2009 to 2012; Senior Independent Director of ITV plc, from 2003 to 2009; Non-executive Director of St James's Place plc, from 2000 to 2006; Trustee of Cancer Research UK, from 2008 to 2013; and Chair of Moneybarn, from 2011 to 2014. During his time as Chair of Misys, James oversaw the growth of the business and sale to Vista Equity Partners in 2012, which valued the business at £1.27 billion. He also oversaw the fast growth and sale of Moneybarn to Provident Financial for £100 million.
James was Chief Executive of HBOS plc from 2001 to 2006 and, prior to this, was Chief Executive of Halifax Group plc. He joined the Halifax Bank in 1994 as Managing Director of Halifax Life. Five years later, he became the Chief Executive of Halifax plc, and, in 2001, became the first Group Chief Executive of the newly formed HBOS Group, after overseeing the merger between Halifax plc and the Bank of Scotland. When James left his CEO role at HBOS, the company was the fourth largest bank in the United Kingdom, in terms of market capitalisation.
Prior to joining Halifax in 1994, James held a range of roles at Scottish Amicable plc. Having trained as an actuary, he was appointed Head of Fixed Interest and Overseas Equities before taking a General Manager role in 1987, with responsibility for IT, Marketing, Finance and Corporate Development. He then moved to Halifax Life in 1994.