Adam Winslow was hired in the knowledge that he would have to overhaul operations at the ailing Direct Line, a process that has been pushed into overdrive by unwanted overtures from European insurance rival Ageas.

The former head of Aviva UK has been in his new post less than two weeks and is already embroiled in a battle to maintain Direct Line's independence as a FTSE-250 listed firm, rather than being folded into the operations of Ageas. The Belgian-headquartered company houses insurance assets previously owned by Fortis, a financial services giant bailed out during the 2008 financial crisis, with operations in France, Portugal and its home country.

READ MORE: Direct Line rebuffs second takeover offer from Belgian rival

Direct Line confirmed this morning that it had received and rejected a second cash-and-shares takeover offer from Ageas at an implied value of 237p per Direct Line share, roughly a 3% premium to an initial indicative offer that was dismissed by the group in February. The company also reiterated that it is "confident" in its prospects as a stand-alone operation.

Mr Winslow will have to back this up next week when Direct Line publishes its full-year results on Thursday, and by all accounts he is reportedly focused on cost savings in a bid to return the group to "sustainable" profitability.

Direct Line's cost base is thought to be higher than many of its immediate rivals. In his efforts to cut back on that, Mr Winslow's strategy is expected to outline ways that Direct Line could become more tech-savvy by, for example, setting up an app for the first time in the company's history.

READ MORE: Direct Line to pay out £30m to overcharged home and car insurance customers

Direct Line was launched in 1985 as the UK's first telephone-only insurer, a model that underpins much of its employment at calls centres throughout the UK including roughly 1,000 staff at Direct Line House in Glasgow. 

A scenario that does not result in job losses is therefore unfathomable. The only real question is whether cuts will be swift, or instead come gradually in the course of regular staff churn.

The transition to an app-dominated customer interface won't happen overnight. On the other hand, Mr Winslow needs pretty rapid results if he is to fend off Ageas and any other predators that might enter the takeover fray. Staff at Direct Line will be hoping for greater clarity come next week.