Opposition to CGNU Name Change Increases as Vote Nears

April 23, 2002

Ever since its February announcement that it planned on changing its name to Aviva, CGNU has been under fire from its shareholders for joining the rush to adopt meaningless, if not actually silly, new corporate names.

Now, according to a report from London’s Financial Times, the U.K.’s most powerful shareholder group, the National Association of Pension Funds, which manages £700 billion (over $1 trillion) in assets, has announced that it will advise its members to abstain from voting on the new name at the annual meeting of shareholders next Monday. It’s concerned essentially about confusing Aviva with Arriva, the name of another U.K. company, which could go to court to block the change.

While “Aviva” apparently doesn’t mean anything, the FT reports that it’s been used by a number of other organizations around the world, including, “a “webzine” run by London-based feminists, a Canadian information technology company, a US music broadcasting rights sales group, a Jewish Vancouver lesbian homepage, a biosciences group, and a brand name for an Argentine herbal tea.”

CGNU management, however, seems to be committed to the change, despite the fact that many shareholders oppose it, and many analysts see it as useless and expensive.

*This comment originally appeared on the IJ Website on February 28 when the name change proposal was first made. It seemed appropriate to repeat it.

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