Aviva 'under pressure' over chief

Aviva 'under pressure' over chief

Aviva has reportedly come under pressure from two major shareholders to replace chief executive Andrew Moss following a massive protest vote against executive pay.

The unnamed investors told The Sunday Telegraph that have called on incoming chairman John McFarlane, who takes over from Lord Sharman in July, to replace Mr Moss at his earliest convenience.

The move comes after more than half of the votes at its annual meeting failed to back the insurer’s pay awards, despite Mr Moss waiving a near-5% pay rise which would have taken his annual salary over the £1m mark.

Some 50% of votes placed outside the AGM went against the pay report, while an additional 9% were withheld, in one of the biggest ever shareholder protest votes.

The remuneration report would have been thrown out completely had new measures to give shareholders binding votes, as put forward by Business Secretary Vince Cable and backed by investor groups, been brought into effect.

Aviva was not immediately available for comment.

Aviva’s share price has declined around 60% since Mr Moss took the helm in July 2007.

The performance has most recently been hit by their exposure to troubled eurozone economies such as Italy and Spain, and are around 30% lower than they were a year ago.

Mr Moss is expected to detail his new strategy at an investor day on May 24, at which he will explain his decision to split the group’s business into developed and developing markets, axing three senior executives in the process.

Mr McFarlane is understood to be planning to poll Aviva’s leading shareholders on the reasons behind the protest vote.

Mr Moss was awarded a 4.6% rise in March on his £960,000 annual salary but has decided not to accept the increase following talks with major investors.

Mr Moss was also awarded a £1.2 million bonus, equal to 120% of salary, while Trevor Matthews, Aviva UK chief executive, was awarded a £45,000 bonus despite just joining the board on December 2.

Aviva chairman Lord Sharman apologised to shareholders at the AGM for ignoring their views when setting executive pay.

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