Emerging markets head takes newly created role at restructuring insurer

RSA has promoted emerging markets chief executive Paul Whittaker to the new role of group chief operating officer.

He will also become deputy chair of RSA’s group executive committee and a member of the regional executive committee

Whittaker will assume his new position on 1 May. He will lead the completion of RSA’s strategic disposals and support the insurer’s remaining emerging markets business.

In addition, the group IT, global specialty lines, underwriting, claims and broker relationships/sales divisions will all report to Whittaker.

He will also be responsible for ensuring the group’s central functions are co-ordinated and effective.

RSA group chief executive Stephen Hester said: “This role reflects our new strategy and will provide essential co-ordination and focus for the successful delivery of the self-help measures underway to recapitalise the business, improve performance and develop lean, low-cost, efficient operations.”

Whittaker’s appointment follows a period of turmoil at RSA triggered by the discovery of accounting and reserving problems at its Irish operations in November. Fixing the problems pushed the group to a £244m loss in 2013.

The insurer launched a £773m rights issue in March as part of the effort to bolster its capital base. It also plans to raise a further £300m by selling businesses.

Whittaker joined RSA as group HR director in April 2003. He was named emerging markets chief executive in October 2006.