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Aviva high-flyer Andy Briggs quits after losing out in chief race

Michael Bow

One of Britain’s top insurance bosses, Aviva’s UK chief Andy Briggs, is stepping down with a near-£3 million maximum pay package shortly after missing out on the top job at the company.

Briggs, who joined Aviva in 2015 after the £5.6 billion takeover of Friends Life, lost out to Aviva chief Maurice Tulloch last month following a closely fought contest to replace Mark Wilson, prompting questions about his future.

He has decided to leave the group, and will take six months’ gardening leave before stepping down on October 23.

He is in line for salary, bonuses and long-term share payouts of up to £2.8 million, but this could be lower if the company performs poorly.

Chief risk officer Angela Darlington will take over from Briggs as caretaker manager while Tulloch reviews the structure of the UK business. She has been at Aviva for 18 years.

At just 53, Briggs is likely to look for another big CEO role given his experience running Friends Life, a former FTSE 100 company, and Aviva UK, which is Aviva’s biggest division.

He is a well-known figure in industry circles, and formerly chaired trade body the Association of British Insurers.

He has also worked at Scottish Widows, Lloyds Banking Group and Prudential and in his youth was a volleyball champion, playing for the England under 20s national team.

Tulloch said: “Andy Briggs will be missed. Andy is a brilliant leader and a good friend.”

Panmure Gordon analyst Barrie Cornes said: “Aviva are losing a very capable and experienced leader who will be hard to replace.”

Aviva shares nudged down 3.2p to 422.4p today.

The appointment is mirrored by a de-cluttering of Aviva’s management ranks, with Tulloch abolishing the role of international chief executive which he previously held.

Instead, the heads of two of Aviva’s big international businesses will go directly onto the management committee.

Colm Holmes, chief of Aviva Canada, and Patrick Dixneuf, promoted today to head Aviva’s European businesses, will join the top leadership ranks.

“These appointments are an important first step to bring greater energy, pace and commercial thinking to Aviva,” said Tulloch.