Canadian Underwriter

O’Donovan first woman to lead Aviva board

June 13, 2019   by Adam Malik

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Anne Marie O’Donovan

Anne Marie O’Donovan is taking over as chairwoman of Aviva Canada’s board of directors and its seven regulated subsidiaries – the first female to do so with the company.

She has long been recognized as a leader, winning the Women in Capital Markets Leadership Award in 2014. That came one year after being named to the Women’s Executive Network Top 100 Most Powerful Women rankings.

O’Donovan has been with the board since 2016, according to an Aviva press release on Thursday, bringing experience as a public company board member and 30 years of experience as a strategic senior executive in the Canadian and global financial services industry.

In addition to Aviva, O’Donovan is a board member with property management firm Cadillac Fairview and retailer Indigo Books and Music, while also serving with two private investment management firms.

“It’s an honour to be named chair of the board at this pivotal and exciting time, and I look forward to working with my deeply experienced fellow board members and the talented Aviva executive team to build a stronger Aviva,” said O’Donovan, who is also a fellow chartered public accountant, in a statement. “We share a focus and passion to be there for our customers in their time of need. I’m encouraged by the progress made over the last year on improving the business fundamentals, and look forward to be working with our new CEO Jason Storah to continue the momentum.”

It’s the second major personnel announcement from Canada’s second-biggest P&C carrier in less than a week. The company announced last Friday that Storah will move into his CEO role as of July 1, taking over from Colm Holmes, who will return to London, U.K., to become the CEO of General Insurance. Holmes will remain on Aviva Canada’s board.

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