Mark Wilson, chief executive of Aviva, has poached another associate from his time working in Asia, appointing a leading banker as the FTSE 100 insurer’s new finance director.
Tom Stoddard, the Blackstone banker who formerly advised AIA, the pan-Asia insurer that Mr Wilson used to run will join Aviva in May. He has been advising the insurer since Mr Wilson took the helm of the UK-based insurer last year.
His appointment comes just one month after Pat Regan, the incumbent who missed out on the chief executive job, quit the insurer to join Australian rival QBE.
The speedy hire comes at a time when several big financial services companies are searching for a finance director. In the insurance sector alone, both Old Mutual and Standard Life are also looking to fill the vacancies. Standard Life has been trying to find a replacement for Jackie Hunt for almost 10 months.
Executives complain the Prudential Regulation Authority is taking a tougher line on appointments, especially of candidates outside the industry. But Aviva said regulators had already approved Mr Stoddard’s appointment.
As head of global financial institutions advisory at Blackstone, Mr Stoddard has been advising Mr Wilson over the past year on how to rebuild Aviva’s balance sheet.
The duo began working together when AIG was eyeing a listing of its Asia arm AIA. The plans were put on hold and Prudential of the UK made a bid, which was fought by Mr Wilson. The contentious Pru deal fell through and the listing ultimately went ahead.
Blackstone also worked with Mr Wilson on various prospective private equity deals he looked at in Asia between his jobs at AIA and Aviva.
As part of a wider management overhaul at Aviva, Mr Wilson has also brought in two former colleagues from AIA since he joined: Nick Amin and Khor Hock Seng. He has also promoted some existing Aviva managers and executives including David McMillan, Maurice Tulloch and Jason Windsor.
Aviva unveiled the finance director appointment ahead of its annual results next week, which will detail its financial performance during Mr Wilson’s first year in charge.
Profits are expected to be dented by flood-related losses in Canada and the UK. Investors will want to see evidence of underlying progress on cash generation, cost savings and plans to revitalise underperforming businesses.