Former AIA Group head chosen as the new chief executive of insurer Aviva

INSURER Aviva named Mark Wilson, the former head of Asian rival AIA Group, as its new chief executive, filling a six-month vacancy left after investors forced out his predecessor.

Mr Wilson will take over the top job at Aviva on January 1, Britain’s second-biggest insurer said in a statement. He succeeds Andrew Moss, who quit in May amid investor discontent over the company’s persistently weak share price.

Forty six-year-old Mr Wilson, credited with preparing Hong Kong-based AIA for its successful 2010 stock market listing, inherits the task at Aviva of shedding underperforming businesses to boost profits and revitalise its stock market performance.

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“My first task will be to listen to Aviva’s stakeholders, including customers, shareholders, staff and regulators, and ascertain the key concerns and opportunities that face the business,” said Mr Wilson in a statement.

Other candidates for the role included Pat Regan, Aviva’s chief financial officer.

New Zealand-born Mr Wilson will be paid a basic annual salary of £980,000 and is in line for a performance-related bonus next year of up to £1.5m, of which two-thirds must be deferred and paid in shares.

He will also be eligible for a long-term share bonus in 2013 worth a maximum £2.94m.

Aviva chairman John McFarlane, in day-to-day control of the insurer since Mr Moss left, in July launched a turnaround strategy based on selling 16 operations that contribute only 18 per cent of operating profit but tie up more than a third of group capi- tal.

Mr McFarlane said: “He has an outstanding track record of leading a major insurer, of transforming its performance and culture, of implementing a growth agenda and of producing significant shareholder value, all of which are essential for Aviva’s success going forward. Mark has operated in both developed and emerging markets.

“At AIA, Mark faced similar challenges to Aviva today.”

Aviva employs about 4,800 staff in Yorkshire, with around 2,800 based in York at the company’s UK life and pensions busi- ness.