The Business On... Andrew Moss, Chief executive, Aviva
Friday 05 August 2011
I see Aviva has beaten forecasts: does that buy Mr Moss time?
For the moment, anyway. The softly spoken Mr Moss should be able to keep his critics at bay for a bit after yesterday reporting operating profits of £1.34bn compared with the analysts' consensus of £1.28bn, but they won't keep quiet for ever.
What's the problem?
Aviva's a great big sprawling beast of a company, with businesses all over the place. Some of the smaller ones haven't been doing all that well, and Mr Moss's detractors say the company under his watch has lacked a sharp focus.
Is that fair?
Not entirely, but Mr Moss's understated manner doesn't help. His predecessor, Richard Harvey, was much more thin-skinned, and could be prickly. But he was rather better at explaining what he wanted to do (even if it looked barking, like the slightly silly name that the company still has).
What happened to 'one Aviva twice the value'?
Ah yes, that plan to double earnings per share and earn the executives a tasty extra bonus for what they should have been doing as part of their everyday jobs. We haven't heard much about that recently, funnily enough. But there's an expensively produced and glossy video on the website about the company's "journey" to create one Aviva if you're really, really short of things to do. And you'll still find details of the bonus plan squirrelled away in the annual report.
Aren't they paid enough already?
Read the annual reports. The remuneration committee praises Mr Moss and his colleagues for exercising restraint during the downturn, but warns that a man in his position should be paid more than the £2.5m he earned in 2010.
Can Mr Moss restore the gloss?
The son of a solicitor, who cites gardening as his main relaxation and trained as an accountant after reading law at Oxford, has pulled out of some of those smaller businesses. But the City is not renowned for its patience. He needs to move faster.
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