By Kristy Dorsey

The chief executive of pensions and insurance giant Aviva has retired with immediate effect after little more than a year in the post.

Maurice Tulloch is stepping aside for family health reasons to be replaced by non-executive director Amanda Blanc. She joins on an annual salary of £1 million, similar to that of Mr Tulloch.

Ms Blanc has chaired Aviva’s Customer, Conduct and Reputation board committee since January, and was previously head of global banking partnerships at Zurich. Prior to that she was the boss of AXA’s UK and Ireland business.

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Ms Blanc, who becomes only the seventh female FTSE-100 boss, has also served as chair of the Association of British Insurers and president of the Chartered Insurance Institute.

Born in Falkirk, Mr Tulloch joined Aviva in 1992 and became a member of the board in 2017. He was appointed chief executive in March 2019 as the company embarked on management shake-up to improve returns to shareholders.

Aviva is a significant employer in Scotland, with workforces based in Perth, Bishopbriggs and Glasgow. Chairman George Culmer said Ms Blanc’s appointment to head up the business had “unanimous” support from the board.

“I know she will bring real dynamism to Aviva and re-establish our credentials as a high-performing, innovative and customer-centric business,” he added.

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The group revealed a record full-year operating profit of £3.18 billion in March, but has since warned that coronavirus could cost it as much as £160 million. Prior to the pandemic’s outbreak, Aviva was under pressure from shareholders frustrated by a lack of progress on profitability.

Ms Blanc said the company will be looking at all strategic opportunities “at pace”.

“I want Aviva to be the leader in our industry again and the first choice of our customers and partners,” she said. “My focus will be on achieving that for the benefit of all our stakeholders.”