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MENAFN - AFP - 20/11/2012

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(MENAFN - AFP) British insurer Aviva has appointed Mark Wilson, ex-head of Asian insurance giant AIA, as its new chief executive, the group said on Tuesday, after the previous boss resigned following a shareholder revolt.

Wilson, who was chief executive and president of AIA Group between 2006 and 2010, will take up his new position on January 1, 2013 after joining the board at the start of December, Aviva said in a statement.

Andrew Moss had in May sensationally quit as chief executive of Aviva -- Britain's second biggest insurer after Prudential -- amid spreading shareholder revolts over pay for top managers deemed as underperforming.

Following the resignation, Aviva announced plans in July to withdraw from 16 non-core business areas and announced senior management changes following a major strategic review that was aimed at strengthening its capital base.

Aviva is lagging behind Prudential, which recently posted soaring sales on the back of growth in Asia and despite a turbulent global economic backdrop.

"I am delighted we have secured Mark for Aviva. His leadership credentials are incredibly strong," said chairman John McFarlane, who had assumed executive duties following Moss' resignation.

"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."

Wilson's appointment ends Aviva's six-month search to find a successor for Andrew Moss.

"It is a privilege to lead Aviva... It is acknowledged that over recent years the company has not performed to its potential," Wilson said in the statement.

"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. There is substantial work to do."

Earlier this year, a raft of top British companies faced a wave of investor activism as shareholders rebelled over high boardroom pay amid underperformance in the poor economic climate -- and state moves to clamp down on corporate greed.

Moss resigned on May 8 after five years at the helm of the insurance group, and after becoming the latest victim of what analysts called the "shareholder spring".


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