Aviva appointed internal candidate Maurice Tulloch as its new chief executive after a lengthy selection process, a choice which analysts say could herald change at Britain’s second-biggest insurer.
Mr Tulloch, who will take over with immediate effect, is expected to sharpen Aviva’s focus on the home market and some analysts say he may decide to put some overseas units under review, including some of its Asian businesses.
Other possible changes include the sale of some of its portfolio of life insurance policies closed to new customers, they added.
Aviva, which traces its roots back to 1696, sells everything from life to car insurance, an unwieldy and expensive model which has failed to deliver the same results as more focused rivals like Prudential and Legal and General. “We must focus on the fundamentals of insurance and giving our customers the best possible experience,” Mr Tulloch, who joined Aviva in 1992, said in a statement, adding that there was “more to do to improve returns for shareholders”.
Most recently based in Canada, where he headed Aviva’s international business, Mr Tulloch was seen as one of the front-runners for the post along with fellow internal candidate Andy Briggs, head of the firm’s UK business, its biggest revenue earner. Aviva’s shares, which were up slightly in the session, have however fallen 7% in the past year.
Chairman Adrian Montague, who had temporarily stepped in as CEO following Mark Wilson’s ouster last October amid concerns about a struggling share price, will revert to non-executive chairman.
Mr Montague said in a statement that the decision was unanimous. External and internal candidates were considered, he added. Possible external candidates included former Old Mutual CEO Bruce Hemphill and ex-Lloyd’s of London CEO Inga Beale, Reuters reported last month. Under Mr Wilson’s leadership, Aviva clinched one of the biggest insurance takeovers in a decade by buying Friends Life in 2015.