Andrew Moss has announced his resignation, with immediate effect, as CEO of Aviva, the UK’s largest insurance group. The move comes five days after his salary figures were rejected at the annual general meeting of shareholders. He will also “leave the Board shortly and a further announcement will be made to confirm the financial terms of his departure and date of leaving,” the company said.
Aviva said its Board has asked Chairman Designate John McFarlane to become interim Executive Deputy Chairman with immediate effect. As of July first he will become Executive Chairman pending the appointment of a new CEO.
The Board has asked him to maintain this executive role while ” internal and external candidates are assessed to find the very best candidate for the CEO role. It is envisaged that this process will take a number of months, at the conclusion of which he will revert to the role of non-executive Chairman.”
The bulletin also noted that Aviva’s Chairman Lord Sharman “confirmed that Andrew Moss had approached him with the decision that he felt it was in the best interests of the company that he step aside to make way for new leadership. He has offered to assist in any way he can to ensure a smooth transition.”
In regard to John McFarlane’s additional responsibilities, Lord Sharman stated: “Aviva’s shareholders are in very good hands. His leadership and shareholder credentials are impeccable having transformed ANZ during his tenure as CEO, as well as making a significant contribution to the improvement in shareholder value at Standard Chartered prior to that.”
McFarlane described Aviva as a “leading company in the insurance sector, adding that he looks forward to playing “a pivotal role in its transformation and future. I feel I can make a real difference. My first priorities are to regain the respect of our shareholders by eliminating the discount in our share price and to find internally or externally the very best leader to be our future CEO. I will meet all of the major investors over the coming days and weeks.”
The bulletin noted that “McFarlane will immediately assume the task of improving the delivery of shareholder value by the group.” Moss’ failure to do so in the eyes of many shareholders was the main reason for the rejection of his financial proposals, including the proposed amount of his salary.
Aviva also announced that its investor presentation scheduled for 24th May “will be postponed until after the Board’s annual strategy meeting in June but will take place before the group’s interim results. John McFarlane and Patrick Regan will lead the rescheduled presentation, together with Trevor Matthews, Simon Machell and the major business heads.
“The recently announced new Group Executive Committee and streamlined structure is unaffected. Given the imperative of improving financial performance, John McFarlane has asked Patrick Regan, Chief Financial Officer, to play a pivotal role across the group to achieve this. To assist John McFarlane in his new responsibilities, Kirsty Cooper, Group Company Secretary and General Counsel, will head the Office of the Chairman in addition to her other responsibilities.”
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