AXA is planning wide-ranging "aggressive" cost reductions to cut overall spending levels by the end of the year, according to new purchasing chief, Alain Page-Lecuyer.

He said IT suppliers could expect major changes in the way the group buys its systems.

Page-Lecuyer , whose appointment was announced last week, is to bring in a global strategy for purchasing everything AXA needs.

By centralising goods and services purchases, he said he could achieve discounts for high volumes.

He said AXA's buying strategy in the UK had until now been decentralised and independent.

"Each purchasing department in each country was completely independent," he said. "Now the target will be to find the best global deal."

It is understood that AXA UK chief executive Peter Hubbard has completed a review of the company's UK e-commerce operations.

AXA Insurance marketing director Iain Watt said: "We are currently developing a strategy aimed at delivering our business objectives through a customer-focused culture.

"This involves a thorough review of all aspects of the business. This review will be finalised and communicated by the end of May."

Page-Lecuyer said it was too early to speak of precise budget figures for the UK over the coming year but the cuts would apply to both IT and non-IT spending .

He created a global buying strategy in his eight years as buying chief at French multinational, Alcatel.

"I'm absolutely confident that it will be possible to implement the same process at AXA and by the end of the year to show some precise results," he said.