Disgruntled shareholders claimed their third scalp after Andrew Moss resigned as
Mr Moss's departure marks the latest development in a rising tide of shareholder discontent over the perceived mismatch between performance and executive pay, with Sly Bailey from
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Former ANZ boss John McFarlane, who becomes chairman from 1 July, will take over as chief executive when Mr Moss leaves at the end of May until a replacement is appointed, former RSA boss Andy Haste has been suggested by some. The new management team needs to tackle several years of underperformance. This won't be easy, because Aviva has extensive operations in particularly tough markets such as Italy, Ireland and Spain. The main priority will be to boost the group's financial strength, which could include selling the US business or disposing of the general insurance side formerly known as Norwich Union.
Some analysts are suggesting a break up of the business as the best way to deliver value and there are certainly more options open to Aviva's new boss compared with whoever takes over at Trinity Mirror, which is battling against structural decline in its industry, or AstraZeneca, where a patent cliff threatens future growth. Still, at least Astra shareholders have a healthy yield to cling to, as do Aviva's.
Shares in Aviva jumped 5 per cent on the departure of Andrew Moss. New management may give a further lift to the shares - as could a bid approach or a break-up of the business. For now, there is some comfort from the 8.6 per cent yield, and trading at just half embedded value, we reiterate our buy stance.