Aviva's Andrew Moss will walk away with a £1 million 'golden goodbye' plus £209,000 of pension after he quit as chief executive of the life company.
Moss will receive a full 12 months' basic salary plus a £300,000 payment on leaving, as well as £209,000 of pension. His basic salary last year was £960,000.
Aviva said Moss had stepped down from the chief executive role with immediate effect, and he will leave the company at the end of May.
Chairman designate John McFarlane will become interim executive deputy chairman with immediate effect and executive chairman from 1 July pending the appointment of a new chief executive.
Aviva chairman Lord Sharman said Moss had decided it was in the best interests of the company for him to make way for new leadership.
'We should acknowledge the progress that has been achieved under Andrew Moss's leadership,' said Sharman. 'Through the global financial crisis he led the consolidation of our international presence and the integration of 40 brands into the very powerful single Aviva brand. He reduced the cost base, improved operational performance and more recently began the implementation of the strategic focus, with the sale of RAC, the deconsolidation of Delta Lloyd and a number of overseas disposals.'
Moss's departure follows mounting pressure on the Aviva chief executive. Last week it lost the shareholder vote on executive pay at its annual general meeting. Shareholders were urged to vote against the measures by the Association of British Insurers and the Pensions & Investment Research Consultants, who argued the pay packages handed to directors were too generous.
Investors were angered by the £2.5 million 'golden hello' handed to former Standard Life UK boss Trevor Matthews when he joined last year. Aviva had pledged to review pay packages for new directors in the run-up to the vote, with Moss deciding not to accept the salary increase he was granted in 2012, but it was not enough to sway shareholders.
Reports over the weekend suggested the vote was to be interpreted as a protest against Moss. The Sunday Telegraph quoted a spokesman for one of two large Aviva shareholders who had called for Moss to be replaced as saying: 'The vote was really against Moss as chief executive.'
Moss has struggled to improve the performance of Aviva's share price during his time as chief executive. Since July 2007, when he assumed the top job, shares have fallen 59% in capital terms, although that period does include the impact of the financial meltdown.
Over the past year, they are down 32%, while in the last three months they have lost 20%, underperforming the FTSE All Share, and peers in the insurance sector.
Aviva said that McFarlane would immediately assume the task of improving sharholder value. McFarlane has announced a new set of priorities for the group, and will implement a review of the group's businesses.
Shares responded positively to the news, rising 3%, or 9p to 311p at the market's opening.