Aviva CEO Mark Wilson steps down; insurer starts search for successor

Mark Wilson will remain at the group until April to help assist with the transition.
Mark Wilson will remain at the group until April to help assist with the transition.PHOTO: AVIVA

LONDON (REUTERS) - The chief executive of Aviva is stepping down from his role after directing a sweeping restructuring of the British insurer during his six years at the helm.

Mark Wilson will be replaced temporarily by chairman Adrian Montague while a permanent successor is appointed, a task the company said on Tuesday (Oct 9) it aimed to complete within the next four months after assessing internal and external candidates.

Wilson will remain at the group until April to help assist with the transition.

Montague will be assisted by a 'Chairman's Committee' of Andy Briggs, CEO of UK Insurance, chief financial officer Thomas Stoddard and Maurice Tulloch, CEO, International Insurance.

"When I joined Aviva, the company was in poor health. Aviva is very different today. I have achieved what I wanted to achieve and now it's time for me to move on to new things," Wilson said in the statement.

During his stint at Aviva, Wilson led the company's £5.6 billion (S$10.15 billion) takeover of Friends Life in 2016, in the sector's biggest acquisition in more than a decade.

The money-spinning deal helped increase the company's assets under management to more than £300 billion.

He also oversaw company's exit from a number of non-core markets, halving its footprint from 28 markets to 14, as well as growing operating profit and ramping up investment on technology.

Separately, Aviva said it continued to perform well and remains on track to deliver operating earnings per share growth of greater than 5 percent in 2018 and to achieve a dividend payout ratio of 55-60 per cent of operating earnings per share by 2020.