LONDON, April 15 British insurer RSA has
appointed its emerging markets chief to the newly created role
of chief operating officer to oversee sales of non-core
businesses as the company shores up its balance sheet.
RSA is restructuring after an accounting scandal at its
Irish arm and large weather-related insurance claims left it
with a hole in its finances and major 2013 losses.
In a statement on Tuesday, RSA said Paul Whittaker, chief
executive of emerging markets, will move into the role on May 1.
"This role reflects our new strategy and will provide
essential co-ordination and focus for the successful delivery of
the self-help measures underway to recapitalise the business,"
Group Chief Executive Stephen Hester said.
The company's difficulties culminated in a string of profit
warnings in 2013 and the departure of a number of senior
figures, including chief executive Simon Lee who was replaced
this year by former Royal Bank of Scotland boss Hester.
RSA is looking to raise up to $2.7 billion in capital, about
half of which will come from disposals and money saved by
scrapping its dividend, with the rest put up by shareholders
through a rights issue this month.
RSA, best known in Britain for its More Than home and motor
insurance brand, has already started making disposals, targeting
around 300 million pounds in 2014, and Hester has said more
sales could follow in 2015.
The group is aiming to focus efforts on its core businesses
in the UK and Ireland, Canada, Scandinavia and Latin America.
Businesses in the Middle East, eastern Europe and Asia are under
review for possible sale.
RSA said that Whittaker, who joined the firm in 2003 as
Human Resources Director, will run the disposals drive and
support its remaining emerging markets businesses.
($1 = 0.5976 British pounds)
(Reporting by Chris Vellacott; Editing by Matt Scuffham and