Aviva Poaches Great Eastern CEO to Oversee Life Business

Aviva Plc’s Mark Wilson has convinced another former colleague to join the British insurer, hiring Great Eastern Holdings Ltd.’s chief executive officer to oversee the company’s life-insurance business.

Chris Wei was named CEO of global life insurance in a newly created position as well as chairman of Asia, Aviva said in a statement today. Wei resigned from the Singapore-based insurance arm of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. today and is due to leave the company in September.

“Chris brings an outstanding track record and has the strategic and financial acumen to make a difference,” Wilson, group CEO of London-based Aviva, said in the statement.

Before joining Great Eastern, Wei was a member of the group executive committee of AIA Group Ltd. from 2008 to 2011, while Wilson was CEO of the Hong Kong-based insurer. He joins former AIA employees Nick Amin, Aviva’s group transformation director, and Khor Hock Seng, CEO of Aviva’s Asia unit.

Wilson has changed at least half of his senior managers since joining the U.K.’s second-biggest insurer last year as he seeks to rebuild capital depleted by the financial crisis and shrink a 4.1 billion-pound ($7 billion) internal loan.

The insurer’s U.K. life-insurance business has also been hit by government changes to Britain’s pension industry. Aviva had more than 700 million pounds wiped off its market value after U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne scrapped rules in his March budget that pushed retirees to buy an annuity with their pension savings.

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