TREVOR Matthews will be returning to his homeland of Australia after being restructured out of a job at insurance giant Aviva.
In a boardroom shake up, Matthews, currently Aviva’s executive director of developed markets, will leave the business. David McMillan, a graduate of Heriot-Watt, has been promoted to take up a re-introduced role as chief executive of Aviva Europe.
McMillan takes a step up from his current role as transformation director, having joined Norwich Union, as Aviva was then named, in 2002.
The personnel changes are the first to be made by chief executive Mark Wilson since he took over in January. The former boss of AIA, the Asian arm of US insurer AIG, has also recruited his former colleague Nick Amin as group transformation director.
Matthews, who is believed to be one of the best remunerated insurance company directors of his generation, had long claimed he wanted to return with his family to Australia by the time he was 60. He turns 61 in March.
Aviva said the Australian would resign on the day before the company’s annual general meeting which is expected to be in May.
Matthews has spent a whirlwind eight years as an insurance boss in the UK.
He was recruited to join Standard Life in 2004 as head of its UK business ahead of its painful demutualisation process.
Insiders said Matthews was instrumental in engaging stakeholders at the time when the company was seen as dour and too Scottish.
But he was unsuccessful in his aspirations to become successor to former chief executive Sir Sandy Crombie and the role was handed to David Nish.
Matthews then surprised the market by taking up a job as head of Friends Provident. Although he initially fought the takeover of Friends by Resolution, he eventually became its deputy chairman.
With his series of high-profile jobs came a number of golden hellos and goodbyes.
When he joined Aviva he was handed a £2.5 million starting bonus on top of annual salary of £720,000. Aviva would not comment on whether Matthews was in line for a pay-off on his departure.
The issue of high pay has been a thorny one at Aviva. It was a shareholder revolt over remuneration in May of last year that led to the departure of Wilson’s predecessor, Andrew Moss.
Other moves at the UK’s largest general insurer will see Jason Windsor – who, as group strategy director has been instrumental in Aviva’s disposal programme – become chief strategy and development officer. In January, Wilson launched a process to strengthen the company’s balance sheet by selling off or winding down a number of its international businesses.
Wilson said: “These changes are about ensuring we have the right people in the right jobs and that we have the best possible leadership team so Aviva can achieve is undoubted potential.
“I would also like to thank Trevor Matthews for his considerable contribution to Aviva and wish him well for his future,” he added.