Otto Thoresen has joined the Association of British Insurers (ABI) as its new director general.
Thoresen is currently chief executive of Aegon UK and a member of the board of management of Aegon N.V.
Tim Breedon, ABI chairman, said: “Otto combines significant industry experience with a passion for improving the industry’s service to its customers and its reputation.
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“His proven commitment to improving access to financial services and driving a focus on the customers’ needs will be a huge asset to the ABI as it continues to build greater trust in insurance products and tackle areas of customer detriment.
“Otto was the unanimous choice of the ABI Board Appointments Panel, having taken part in a competitive external search process, which resulted in a shortlist of five candidates. I am sure ABI members will be delighted that someone of his calibre will be leading the organisation forward.”
Thoresen said: “I am incredibly excited about taking on this challenge and representing all parts of the insurance industry at this critical time.
“This is an industry I care passionately about and I will relish the opportunity to engage in crucially important debates with governments, regulators, customers and stakeholders.
“The insurance industry is facing very significant changes over the next few years and it will be vital that we punch our weight and contribute all we can to the challenges facing us.
“Insurance has a key role to play in building and sustaining a healthy society. It is a vital product for most people but as an industry we still have much to do if we are to be completely customer-focused.
“The challenges are not necessarily the same for the general and life sectors but we know as insurers that we have to build on the progress of the last few years and always be on the side of our customers.”
Aegon has appointed Adrian Grace as Thoresen’s successor.
Since 2009, Grace has held the position of director of group development at Aegon. Previously, he held business development roles at GE Capital, and managing director roles at Sage Group, Hbos and Barclays Insurance.
Alex Wynaendts, chief executive officer at Aegon, said: “We are grateful to Otto Thoresen for his years of leadership and many contributions to Aegon UK throughout his long career.
“Adrian Grace is uniquely qualified to lead our organisation in the UK forward given his extensive industry experience and the significant role he has played in repositioning our business over the past several months.
“Adrian is committed to deliver on the strategic priorities for Aegon UK which are aimed at achieving a new era of focused growth in the ‘at retirement’ and workplace savings markets.”
Grace added: “I am very pleased to have the opportunity to lead Aegon UK at such an important time for our business.
“I will continue with the strategy which the Aegon UK leadership team has introduced over the past twelve months.
“My aim will be to execute our plans well in order to achieve improved performance and leverage the strengths that benefit us as part of a global company.”
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