Oct 10, 2018

Aviva chief pays price for muddled message

As part of his ruthless drive to cull low-volume insurance products, Mark Wilson once set his fellow Aviva managers a Twitter test: "If they can't explain in 140 characters or less . . . what their proposition is for their customer, I will kill their product." This week, with investors and analysts grumbling that the Aviva boss had been failing for years to communicate a clear strategy to the market, its board decided to terminate Mr Wilson's time as chief executive. Others were sceptical about whether the benefits of being what Mr Wilson called a "True customer composite" - an insurer selling both life insurance and property & casualty insurance - would ever come through in the form of higher sales. Mr Wilson's friends protested that it was not unusual for chief executives to take board seats elsewhere. Some investors worried about a potential conflict of interest, while others wondered why Aviva was not getting Mr Wilson's full attention.

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