Our business

Colm Holmes and Rob Townend appointed to new Aviva roles

Colm Holmes has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Aviva Canada. Rob Townend has been appointed Managing Director of Aviva UK General Insurance.

Aviva, the UK’s leading insurer, has announced that Colm Holmes, currently Chief Executive Officer of Aviva UK General Insurance, has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Aviva Canada. He will also continue to lead Aviva’s Global Corporate and Specialty business.

Colm Holmes
Colm Holmes

Greg Somerville is stepping back from his role as President and Chief Executive Officer of Aviva Canada to become a non-executive director of Aviva Canada.

Rob Townend, currently Aviva’s UK Claims Director, has been appointed Managing Director of Aviva UK General Insurance.

Rob Townend
Rob Townend

In his new role Rob will report to Andy Briggs, Aviva UK Insurance Chief Executive Officer. Rob will focus on driving continued excellence in general insurance, particularly in product design, pricing, claims and underwriting to provide customers with the insurance that best protects them, their families, their business and the things they value. 

Phil Bayles will continue in his role as Managing Director of UK Intermediaries, taking on the additional responsibility for leading the trading strategy. Rob and Phil will work closely together to drive profitable growth for the general insurance business to maintain a strong market presence.

Phil Bayles
Phil Bayles

Patrick Tiernan, currently Aviva Chief Financial Officer of Global Corporate and Specialty, will move to the new role of Managing Director of Global Corporate and Specialty, UK and Europe. Leading this growing global business in the UK and Europe, he will be focused on large general insurance corporate and Specialty risk clients. 

Andrew Morrish, currently Aviva’s UK Motor Claims and Technology Director, will move to the role of UK GI Claims Director.

Andrew Morrish
Andrew Morrish

UK appointments are subject to regulatory and appropriate board approvals, and will become effective following a transitional period.

Andy Briggs, CEO UK Insurance, said: “Under Colm’s leadership, Aviva’s UK general insurance has gone from strength to strength. He has been responsible for driving strong growth in both revenue and profit, as well as achieving high customer satisfaction and developing new insurance products that help our customers manage the risks of everyday life. 

“These appointments reflect the quality and depth of our management team across Aviva. I’d like to thank Colm for his contribution to our UK business, and I look forward to continuing to evolve and simplify our UK business around the changing needs of our customers.”


About Colm Holmes

Colm Holmes joined Aviva in 2014. In June 2016 he was appointed as CEO of Aviva UK General Insurance, the leading general insurer in the UK market and Aviva’s largest general insurance business. Colm leads a very strong business with £4.3bn net written premiums and has driven growth and innovation across all target markets and product lines. Colm was the CFO of Aviva before becoming CEO. Prior to joining Aviva, Colm had spent the previous 13 years with Zurich Insurance Group in the UK, New York and Switzerland and spent nine years with JP Morgan. 

About Rob Townend 

Rob Townend has worked for Aviva since 1996 and is currently responsible for Aviva's UK Claims Team. During his time at Aviva he has held various senior sales, claims, operational and commercial roles across the UK, Canada and Ireland. For the past five years, Rob has led the transformation of Aviva's UK claims service. Rob represents Aviva on cross-stakeholder groups to combat insurance fraud and injury reform and has championed fair outcomes for consumers. He also sits on the leadership of BERG (Business Emergency Response Group), an initiative set up by HRH Prince Charles to provide prevention, resilience advice and post-event support to small business and communities.  Prior to working at Aviva, Rob worked in a number of leadership roles in the steel industry.

About Phil Bayles 

Phil Bayles joined Aviva in 2002 and in the past 15 years has undertaken a number of senior trading and distribution roles. In April 2013 he was appointed Intermediary and Partnerships Director, leading the trading, sales and branch network across the UK general insurance business, and from January 2017 has been responsible for sales and distribution for intermediaries across UK Insurance. Prior to Aviva he held a number of senior roles within the motor and outsourcing industries, and led a digital start-up.

Media enquiries:

Diane Mangan – diane.mangan@aviva.com: mobile - 07800 691714

Liz Kennett – liz.kennett@aviva.com: mobile - 07800 692675

Notes to editors:

  • Aviva provides life insurance, general insurance, health insurance and asset management to 33 million customers.
  • In the UK we are the leading insurer serving one in every four households and have strong businesses in selected markets in Europe, Asia and Canada. Our shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and we are a member of the FTSE100 index. 
  • Aviva’s asset management business, Aviva Investors, provides asset management services to both Aviva and external clients, and currently manages over £340 billion in assets. Total group assets under management at Aviva group are £475 billion.
  • Aviva helps people save for the future and manage the risks of everyday life; we paid out £34.4 billion in benefits and claims in 2016.
  • By serving our customers well, we are building a business which is strong and sustainable, which our people are proud to work for, and which makes a positive contribution to society.
  • The Aviva newsroom at www.aviva.com/newsroom includes links to our image library, research reports and our news release archive.
  • For an introduction to what we do and how we do it, please click here www.aviva.com/about-us
  • Follow us on twitter: www.twitter.com/avivaplc/
  • Follow us on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/aviva-plc
  • For the latest corporate films from around our business, subscribe to our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/aviva
  • We have a Globelynx system for broadcast interviews. Please contact the Press Officer noted above if you would like to make a booking.