Aviva CFO Regan Lured to Australia’s QBE After Four Years

Jan 23, 2014 7:55 am ET

(Adds background on Regan from second paragraph.)

Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Aviva Plc Chief Financial Officer Pat Regan resigned after almost four years with the U.K. insurer, lured to Australia by QBE Insurance Group Ltd., where he will take up a similar role at a smaller company.

Regan, who is one of the last remaining top group executives at Aviva since Chief Executive Officer Mark Wilson started a year ago, will join the Sydney-based company in June, QBE said in a statement today. As at Aviva, QBE also wrote down the value of its U.S. operations.

“I am confident that he will quickly gain the confidence of all our key stakeholders,” said QBE CEO John Neal in the statement. “He will play a leading role in helping to shape the future and culture of our company.”

Regan joined Aviva as CFO in 2010 and was named by analysts as a contender for CEO before Wilson was chosen by Chairman John McFarlane. Regan, who is on the board, will remain with the company until June, Aviva said in a separate statement today. The London-based insurer has started a search for a new CFO.

Both Aviva and QBE are their respective country’s second- largest insurers by market value. Aviva’s value is about double that of QBE at almost 14 billion pounds ($23.2 billion).

Wilson has replaced at least half of his senior managers since joining in January 2013, which includes hiring ex- colleagues Nick Amin as group transformation director, and Khor Hock Seng, CEO of Aviva’s Asia unit. Both came from AIA Group, where Wilson was CEO before its initial public offering in 2010.

“Pat has been a tremendous support in assisting me with Aviva’s financial transformation,” Wilson said in a statement. “I am supportive of his decision, and he leaves with my best wishes.”

At QBE, Regan succeeds Neil Drabsch, who delayed his retirement as the company searched for his successor. QBE’s outlook was lowered to negative by Standard & Poor’s last month after the insurer forecast a $250 million loss in 2013 because of writedowns at its North American operations.

--With assistance from Gavin Finch in London. Editors: Jon Menon, Steve Bailey