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Life Health > Life Insurance

Aviva raises CEO’s bonus, sweetens incentive pay after deal

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(Bloomberg) — Aviva Plc, in the middle of buying Friends Life Group Ltd., increased Chief Executive Officer Mark Wilson’s bonus 15 percent to 1.3 million pounds ($1.9 million) in 2014 and sweetened his long-term incentives.

Wilson was awarded an immediate cash bonus of about 424,000 pounds, with the balance to be paid in shares in three years, Aviva said Monday. The London-based insurer also increased his long-term incentive plan to a maximum 350 percent of his base salary from 300 percent last year, meaning that the New Zealander could earn as much as 3.4 million pounds in stock.

Wilson, 48, agreed to buy Friends Life for about 5.6 billion pounds last year to boost cash flow and pay down debt, accelerating the CEO’s turnaround plans after less than two years in the job. If approved this month by shareholders, the takeover will be the largest the U.K. insurance industry has seen in 15 years.

The decision to increase Wilson’s incentive pay was to help with his retention “during this critical time, strategically and in relation to the objectives of the proposed Friends Life transaction,” the compensation committee wrote in the annual report.

The CEO’s base salary remained unchanged at 980,000 pounds, the annual report showed. Wilson’s long-term incentive plan, or LTIP, last year was valued at as much as much as 2.9 million pounds in stock.

Chief Financial Officer Tom Stoddard was awarded total 2014 compensation of 1.2 million pounds, including an annual bonus of 526,000 pounds. His LTIP is 250 percent of his base salary of 458,000 pounds.


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