The new hire is replacing David Williams, who plans to move into non-executive roles

Axa UK has appointed Willis Towers Watson staffer David Ovenden as its new chief underwriting officer for its commercial business, succeeding long-standing c-suite leader David Williams, who will be leaving the insurer at the end of the year.

At Willis Towers Watson, Ovenden led, developed and grew its pricing and underwriting practice. He has also previously worked at insurers Aviva and RSA, leading underwriting functions in the UK, Canada and in Europe.

In his new role, Ovenden will be responsible for delivering pricing and underwriting programmes, as well as bringing focus and energy to the continued development of underwriting capabilities across Axa UK’s commercial business.

Ovenden will join Axa UK in December and will report to Jon Walker, chief executive of Axa Commercial. He will also join the commercial executive committee.

Williams has spent the past 41 years working at Axa UK across a variety of roles. Upon leaving the insurer at the end of 2021, Williams plans to explore non-executive opportunities.

An ‘extraordinary fit’

Speaking on Axa’s latest appointment, Walker said: “It is a pleasure to welcome David Ovenden to the Axa Commercial business.

“His experience, knowledge and leadership skills are invaluable as we drive forward our vision and focus to further strengthen our underwriting capabilities.

“I would like to thank David Williams for his contribution to the business over the last 41 years. He has been a true asset in many areas.”

Ovenden added: “I am extremely excited to be taking a key role in the UK commercial insurance market with the Axa team.

“Axa Commercial’s vision and direction is aligned with my own and I can see an extraordinary fit.”