Aviva Boss Quits In Wake Of Pay Revolt
Insurance firm Aviva's chief executive has stepped down with immediate effect after more than half of its shareholders voted against the group's top pay awards.
"Andrew Moss will leave the board shortly and a further announcement will be made to confirm the financial terms of his departure and date of leaving," Aviva's chairman Lord Sharman said.
The group said John McFarlane would take on his duties until the appointment of a new CEO.
Mr McFarlane will become interim executive deputy chairman with immediate effect and become executive chairman from July 1.
He will revert to the role of non-executive chairman when the new chief executive is appointed.
Mr Moss will maintain an executive role while internal and external candidates are assessed for the vacancy, the company added.
Mr Moss, who has been CEO since 2007, said it was in Aviva's interest for him to step down.
On Tuesday morning the company's online profile page for Mr Moss still listed him as boss and said he had a "keen interest" in gardening. The page was removed hours later.
On April 30, Mr Moss waived his 2012 salary increase following shareholder concerns over executive pay.
Days later, investors revolted over remuneration at the annual general meeting.
The investor group Pensions Investment Research Consultants (Pirc) had urged shareholders to vote against Aviva's executive pay report at the AGM on May 3.
A 54% dissenting vote came amid mounting shareholder determination that executives' pay packets should be aligned more closely with performance.
Aviva's shares have been hit by their exposure to troubled eurozone economies such a Italy and Spain, and are around 30% lower than they were a year ago.
Pirc, which also urged its members to vote against executive remuneration at Barclays, had called Aviva's executive pay awards "excessive".
Mr Moss, 54, who has worked for Lloyd's of London and HSBC, leaves after two other chief executives, David Brennan at AstraZeneca and Trinity Mirror's Sly Bailey, stepped down amid increasing shareholder discontent.
Shareholders in Britain's biggest bookmaker William Hill were the latest to voice discontent over executive pay, with almost half of the proxy votes lodged against a £1.2m retention bonus for the company's CEO, Ralph Topping.
William Hill said 49.9% of proxy votes were against the pay package, with 50.1% for it announced at the AGM on Tuesday.
Chairman Gareth Davis declared the resolution passed after a show of hands. Afterwards, he said: "In bookmakers' parlance, it was a short head."
Mr Topping, who has worked for the company since 1973, will be entitled to the bonus in shares if he stays on until the end of next year.
Catherine Howarth, chief executive of FairPensions, a charity which campaigns for 'responsible' investment, told Sky News that the series of investor revolts had been "a long time coming".
Ms Howarth blamed a combination of weak shareholder return and squeeze in UK household budgets.
She added: "Patience has come to a bit of an end at some companies and we are seeing a long overdue strong line being taken by shareholders."