Aviva chief executive Mark Wilson steps down after almost six years in charge

Joe Curtis
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Mark Wilson will stay on at the company until April 2019 (Source: Aviva)

Aviva chief executive Mark Wilson stepped down today, with the insurer looking for new leadership for what it called its next stage of development.

Wilson, who was brought in to enact a business turnaround in 2013, claimed he succeeded in this goal, with its latest financial results showing it should deliver earnings per share growth of at least five per cent for 2018.

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Non-executive chairman Sir Adrian Montague will assume executive responsibilities as the insurer commences a four-month search for a successor to Wilson, who will remain with the company until April 2019 as part of the transition.

"When I joined Aviva, the company was in poor health,” said Wilson. “Aviva is very different today. I have achieved what I wanted to achieve and now it's time for me to move on to new things. It has been an honour to lead Aviva through this period of immense change.

“I am happy I leave the company in a strong position from which it can thrive. I would like to thank all those within and outside Aviva who have supported the successful turnaround and I wish everyone in Aviva the very best for the future."

While Aviva is on track to deliver operating earnings per share growth of above five per cent this year, its latest results saw profits halve to £376m.

Meanwhile its share price has declined since a 552p peak in May, currently wallowing at 464p.

"After a bright start at the beginning of his tenure, the stock has underperformed its peers in recent years and investors are likely hoping that a change in leadership will bring about a change in fortunes," said online trading platform XTB's chief market analyst, David Cheetham. "Shares have fallen close to two-year lows in recent weeks and firm clearly feel like a change at the top is needed to halt the run of poor performance."

Sir Adrian said: "The board would like to thank Mark for what he has achieved in his six years at Aviva. He leaves the group in a far stronger state than when he joined. Aviva is now financially strong and delivering solid earnings growth.

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"There is much further to go in accelerating our strategic development and enhancing shareholder value. We have agreed with Mark this is the right time for a new leader to ensure Aviva delivers to its full potential.

“Our priority is to ensure, with our new chief executive, that we have the right strategy, focus, capabilities and leadership. I am confident we will deliver long term growth for the benefit of our customers, our people and our shareholders."

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