New Aviva chief slashes dividend as he continues drive to overhaul insurer

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The Independent Online

Aviva boss Mark Wilson will this week update investors on the progress he is making overhauling the insurance giant.

The 46-year-old Kiwi, who joined the FTSE 100 company at the start of the year, is set to lower Aviva's dividend by 44 per cent to 5.6p, in line with the previous cut he made at its full-year results in March. The move is expected across the City and crucially by investors, who say they have been impressed by Mr Wilson since he took over.

Aviva ousted its former chief executive, Andrew Moss, last year following an embarrasing pay revolt at its AGM in May 2012.

Since then, the group has offloaded non-core businesses and looked to boost its capital. In March, the company posted a £3bn loss, slashed its dividend and scrapped bonuses for senior directors.

Its loss compared with a £60m profit in 2011 and came after writing off £3.3bn on the sale of its US business to Athene Holding in December.

At the time, Mr Wilson said it had "not lived up to its potential" and had "disappointed shareholders" over the past few years.

Analysts expect the company to make an operating profit of about £946m, down about 5 per cent year-on-year, when it reports on Thursday.

Barrie Cornes, of Panmure Gordon, said: " It would appear that Aviva is making steady progress in rebuilding investor confidence with the realistic approach being taken by Mark Wilson and the emphasis on cash and repaying debt.

"We welcome the back-to-basics approach being taken by the new management team but remain cautious given the size of the task ahead."