Provident Financial has announced this morning that its executive chairman Manjit Wolstenholme passed away yesterday.
In a statement this morning, the company said Wolstenholme had passed away suddenly, aged 53, on Thursday 23 November.
In a statement this morning, Malcolm Le May, senior independent director, said: "We are deeply shocked and saddened. The thoughts of everyone at Provident are with Manjit's family and friends, and we extend our deepest sympathies to them.
It was a great privilege to know her personally and to work alongside her over the last few years.
She has shown exceptional leadership in stepping up to the role of executive chairman over the last few months.
Manjit was known and respected for her achievements and championing diversity in British business, and we would like to pay tribute to her contribution to the business landscape.
The board has appointed Le May as interim chairman of Provident Financial "with immediate effect".
Wolstenholme trained as a chartered accountant and worked at Dresdner Kleinwort for 13 years, where she became co-head of investment banking, becoming a non-executive director of Future Publishing in 2011.
She was appointed to the board of Provident in 2007 and became chairman in 2014. She had also served as chair of Cala Homes, director of the Unite Group and CMC Markets.
In May, she announced her intention to step down from her role at CMC Markets in July "due to personal reasons".
Phil White, chairman at Unite Group, said: "This is terribly sad news and our sympathies are with Manjit's family at this difficult time. It was a pleasure working alongside Manjit over the last seven years, and she will be very much missed."
The board said it will review the senior independent director position in due course.