New Aviva boss fails to quell anger

AvivaThe new boss of insurance giant Aviva failed to quell shareholders' anger as he faced them for the first time since they staged a rebellion forcing out his predecessor.

Mark Wilson sought to assuage investors at the company's annual general meeting by admitting it had under performed, telling them he agreed with their objections over executive pay, and insisting its new board was taking steps to turn the business around.
%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%Meanwhile, chairman John McFarlane acknowledged past failings but said of current arrangements over pay: "I don't think we do have our hands in the trough."

But many shareholders remained angry about "payment for failure on a grand scale" as well as questioning a decision to slash dividends.
Around one in eight votes failed to back the board's remuneration report for this year.

Speakers at the AGM were applauded as they criticised pay-offs for departing executives, demanded the resignation of the chairman of the remuneration committee and called for another board member to give his bonus to charity.

Mr Wilson was appointed chief executive after the departure of Andrew Moss following last year's humiliation when the bulk of investors voted down a controversial pay deal.

Aviva is now undergoing a major restructuring amid a boardroom clear-out and disposals which saw it record a headline loss of £3 billion this year.

Mr Wilson, who joined the company in January, acknowledged that shareholders had last year sent the board a "very clear message" about their anger over its performance and uncertainty over its direction - and that there was still a "sense of frustration and impatience".

The chief executive also conceded shareholders had endured a tough ride - amid plunging share values, adding: "If patience is a virtue, I think Aviva shareholders are on their way to becoming saints."
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