On working under Bob Gunn
"I see the responsibilities between myself and the chief operating officer (COO) as the same as anywhere else. In Australia, I had a regional director and now I have …
On working under Bob Gunn
"I see the responsibilities between myself and the chief operating officer (COO) as the same as anywhere else. In Australia, I had a regional director and now I have a COO named Bob Gunn whom I will work closely with. It is not a problem for me. With Bob Gunn's appointment, it allowed Bob Mendelsohn to focus more on investor relations and the overall strategy of the group. Bob Gunn is not running the UK - I am.
"Also there is no pressure to sell the life book. I don't need to repeat what Bob has said. There is a timeline to sell the life and pensions division - frankly it is not a major issue for me."
On his time in Australia and the success of More Th>n
"I was involved in the strategic investment of AME (R&SA's Australian division) which is one of the largest direct players in the personal lines market. It has been a tremendous learning process for me to see how that works and how we built AME to become a dominant force in that market.
"More Th>n is exceeding all our targets at the moment. We will invest around £40m in the brand which has just started advertising on the side on London cabs - they all seem to be turning green overnight.
"We must have a share of the voice if we are to make inroads in this market. During the first few years post-merger, we weren't visible, but now we are back shouting again."
On commercial lines business and rumours of the group losing market share
"We haven't been losing market share. It is in fact increasing. The curve is starting to turn upwards. Now we are advertising, the market share is on the upswing. We have great new accounts such as renewing the Halifax Bank contract for a further five years. When I joined [the commercial division in July 1999], CGNU had a market share of roughly 20% and we were down at 13%. These two figures have come much closer together. We are now meeting in the mid-teens.
"Our commercial premium income this year will be over £2bn."
On how he hopes to achieve shareholder return
"If you look at the performance of insurance worldwide over the past 30 years it has been awful at times, and why is that? Because we haven't been investing enough in the core skill of underwriting and the real basics of our business - the risk management element of pricing risk correctly.
"Through this we are going to meet our shareholder return in the next two years. The challenge is for us to create robust underwriting disciplines and claims approaches. So if a business goes below a profitable level we will bin it."