Former co-chief to rejoin insurer after absence of just five months.

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Paul Meehan, the recently departed co-chief executive of AXA’s broker arm, Venture Preference (VPL), is set to return to the insurer after declining offers from a host of other firms.

Meehan is understood to have accepted a senior position at AXA, reporting to Philippe Maso, the recently appointed chief executive.

Sources said Meehan’s post, which begins in the autumn, would extend beyond the insurer’s broking business. Meehan declined to comment.

He left AXA in January as part of a senior management restructuring at VPL under which Stuart Reid was named chief executive. Meehan’s exit was followed by the departures of UK chief Peter Hubbard and markets managing director Mark Cliff.

It is understood that the terms of Meehan’s severance prevented him from working for a rival, unless granted permission by his former employers.

Meehan was courted by a number of leading players in the sector including Norwich Union, Towergate, Giles, Heath Lambert, and private equity giant, Charterhouse.

At the time of his departure, Meehan said the parting had been amicable, but added that he was disappointed. Many sources expressed surprise that Meehan had not been made chief executive of the £1bn GWP broker.

Meehan joined AXA when he sold Yorkshire broker Smart & Cook to the insurer in April 2007.