Sarah Morris, Aviva’s group chief people officer who led the rollout of the British insurance giant’s equal parental leave policy in 2017, is not returning to the firm from her maternity leave.
The Sunday Times said Morris has been “pushed out” by the insurer. According to the report, the senior executive was recently put on garden leave.
“I am handing over the baton of chief people officer to pursue the next challenge in my career,” the RSA alumnus was quoted by the publication as saying in a statement released by Aviva to its workforce.
“This has not been an easy decision.”
In the same year Aviva introduced the equal parental leave policy, which Morris called “ground-breaking,” she ranked 10th among female peers in the UK who were recognised by the Financial Times in its annual HERoes lists, which commend company leaders who support women in business.
Under the policy, employees regardless of gender or sexual orientation are able to take 12 months of leave when a new child – either via birth, adoption, or surrogacy – arrives, including 26 weeks at full basic pay.
Meanwhile The Sunday Times cited Chartered Management Institute chief executive Ann Francke commenting on the latest company exit: “This suggests Aviva is not walking the walk. What sort of signal does this send to employees? To women – and men – who want children?”
Aviva has not yet issued an external announcement on Morris’s departure.