Feeling lucky? It’s time to place your bets on who will be Aviva’s new boss
Whose phone will be ringing this week? After Andrew Moss’s departure, the Aviva job is the hottest ticket in town and there are several names being touted.
1. Odds-on favourite is Andy Haste. On the loose since his surprise departure from RSA last year, Haste made his ambitions over Aviva clear with his failed takeover bid in 2010. Beloved of analysts and City types, he would appease shareholders and give the beleaguered insurer’s share price a much-needed boost. He’s likely to be top of the board’s list, with the main question being whether they can convince him to come in out of the garden and take on one of the biggest and toughest jobs in the financial world today. If so, expect takeover talks with RSA to follow swiftly as the two UK giants, relatively small in global terms, could seek strength together and growth in markets where few organic opportunities exist.
2. The second name in the frame is chief financial officer Pat Regan. Also well thought of in the City, he’s the front-running internal candidate and offers a safe pair of hands.
3. Don’t discount Mark Hodges. Moss’s departure has come at a bad time for him, as he’s not yet completed his first year as chief executive of Towergate. Things haven’t been going too well at the consolidator, and he may well be kicking himself this week for not having hung on longer at Aviva. Could he be the comeback kid?
4. Patrick Snowball’s due to return from Australia soon. He missed out on the top job to Moss but, with several years running SunCorp under his belt, this could be his moment.
5. An outrider is Simon Machall, currently running Aviva’s ‘higher growth markets’ in the Far East. Given the insurer’s need for growth and focus on new markets, that experience could come in very handy.
Predators will be circling, but David McMillan’s UK team is strong and brokers have no worries from a trading viewpoint. Strategically, though, it’s anyone’s guess. Let the games begin.