Royal & SunAlliance yesterday poached George Culmer from rival insurer Zurich to become its new finance director.
Mr Culmer, 41, is currently head of capital management at Zurich and will replace Julian Hance, who resigned in September after having to admit that the company had under-reserved for its liabilities by up to £800m.
A heavily discounted rights was needed to plug the holes in the company's balance sheet and Mr Hance, who had overseen a number of reserving boosts, came under pressure from shareholders to quit. He will leave when Mr Culmer comes on board with a pay-off of about £1.3m, £250,000 of which was for staying in the job until the end of 2003.
Andy Haste, who took over as chief executive of RSA in April, said: "Mr Culmer's proven ability to take the tough decisions that bring about change means that he is ideally suited to join RSA."
Mr Culmer will receive £380,000 as a basic salary and options equivalent to his first year's salary. Prior to joining Zurich, Mr Culmer was financial controller at Prudential.