Aviva unveils appointments for SME and distribution teams

It has been overhauling the senior leadership roster

Aviva unveils appointments for SME and distribution teams


By Mika Pangilinan

Aviva has announced a series of appointments within its SME and distribution teams, selecting experts to lead work focussed on strengthening visibility, responsiveness, and service delivery to brokers and their customers.

These appointments come after the insurer completed the overhaul of its SME and distribution senior leadership team in September.

New heads

Leigh Langton, who has over 20 years of insurance industry experience, was named head of strategic accounts management. This new role will see him lead a team of strategic account managers, leveraging his sales background and technical expertise to advance strategic relationships.

Langton was formerly head of regional market for the Southeast at Zurich. He is set to join Aviva in January 2024 and will report to Michelle Taylor, strategic accounts director.

Donna Smith has been appointed head of schemes and operations. She will oversee and manage Aviva’s schemes book, including delegated underwriting authority arrangements across the SME business. Smith will also join from Zurich, where she was head of retail underwriting performance and execution.

Smith’s background includes time spent at Lloyd’s and Allianz. She is scheduled to assume her new role on December 29 and report to SME portfolio director Rebecca Gambrell.

Joanne Hastings has been promoted to head of customer, assurance, and capability for SME and distribution. She has spent 34 years at Aviva and brings extensive experience in developing its SME technical capability.

Hastings will assume her new role on December 1 and report to Sharon Boobyer, chief operating officer for SME and distribution.

Niamh Johnston, an expert in strategic planning, execution, underwriting analysis, and cost reduction strategies, will join Aviva as head of change, systems, and operational effectiveness. She was previously national operational performance manager for retail at Zurich.

Johnston is set to take on her new position on December 28. She will also report to Boobyer.

Ready for 2024

Commenting on Aviva’s latest appointments, Dave Martin, managing director, UK general insurance distribution and SME trading, emphasised the company’s strategy of recruiting the best talent from diverse backgrounds, as well as its commitment to providing avenues for personal and professional growth.

“I am confident that these appointments will strengthen our team, further boosting our overall effectiveness, performance, and portfolio decision-making,” said Martin. “Congratulations to Jo, and I can’t wait for Niamh, Leigh, and Donna to join us and get stuck in.”

In addition to the new heads, Aviva announced that Taylor and Gambrell will be commencing their roles on December 5, ensuring that all appointments will be in place for the 2024 trading year.

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