Backchat was somewhat amused this week, to find Patrick Snowball, the new head of Aviva's UK Operations, dubbed the 'action man' in a revealing tabloid interview.

The former tank driving Army major will be hoping that the traits he learnt in the Army will aid him in his new role. The clarity of focus and simplicity in planning are certainly an attribute. But the 'ruthless execution' unnerved us.

And it was with some alarm that Backchat read on as the tabloid dared to ask the question that was already forming in our minds: "Have you ever killed anyone, in the Army or subsequently?"

The genial Snowball's tight-lipped response was: "I never answer questions like that."

Backchat will be careful what it writes about Aviva from now on.