Kiwi to run UK's second largest insurer

Mark Wilson

A Kiwi insurance industry heavyweight is to take the reins at troubled UK insurer Aviva.

Mark Wilson, 46, the former chief executive of Asian insurance giant AIA, will start on January 1, 2013, after joining the board at the start of December.

He replaces Andrew Moss, who in May quit as head of Aviva – the UK’s second biggest insurer after Prudential – amid a shareholder revolt over his pay. (Aviva was named in 2002 after a merger of Norwich Uninion and CGU, itself a merger of Commercial Union and General Accident.)

Most recently, Mr Wilson has been involved in the private equity sector, notably with US group Blackstone. He has had a 25-year career in insurance and was chief executive of AIA Group – the Asian division of US insurer AIG – between 2006 and 2010.

In 2010, he oversaw preparations for AIA Group's partial stock market flotation, which raised $US20.5 billion in a Hong Kong float that followed an unsuccessful bid from Prudential.

Before AIA, he was CEO of AXA China Region from 2003-06 and of AXA Asia Pacific Holdings from 2001-03, responsible for the South East Asian business.

For the first 12 years of his career, between 1987 and 1999, he held a number of roles at National Mutual in New Zealand and Australia.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Management Studies from the University of Waikato.

In a company statement announcing his appointment, Mr Wilson said. "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. I am looking forward to taking up this appointment and excited about the future prospects for Aviva."

Mr Wilson, who is married with three children, will receive a basic annual salary of £980,000 ($1.9 million), making him one of New Zealand’s highest paid executives.

He will also have the opportunity to earn a 2013 bonus worth up to a maximum of 150% of his salary, "subject to strict performance conditions and the requirement to defer two thirds of any award made into Aviva stock for a further three years," Aviva says.

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Congratulations to Mr Wilson. A really tough job but what a great CV.

Good luck ....

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