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Aviva could pay CEO up to $8.7 million for first year of turnaround

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[March 25, 2014]  By Chris Vellacott

LONDON (Reuters)  British insurer Aviva <AV.L> could pay its chief executive Mark Wilson up to 5.3 million pounds ($8.7 million) for his first year in the job he took on after a shareholder rebellion led to the departure of his predecessor.

According to Aviva's annual report for 2013, published late on Monday, Wilson's pay comprises a basic salary of 980,000 pounds plus a bonus of 1.1 million pounds, one third of which will be paid in cash with the rest paid in shares deferred for three years.

The company will also pay 293,000 pounds towards his pension while under a long term incentive plan he could in theory be entitled to a further 2.9 million pounds if targets are met.

However, long term incentives are rarely paid in their entirety and Aviva executives received just 35 percent of the maximum during the last pay round.

Wilson has steered a restructuring of the company since it recruited him from Asian rival AIA in late 2012, cutting costs, selling off non-core assets and reshaping top management.

When the company published forecast-beating earnings earlier in March, Wilson said top performing staff could expect bonuses to be reinstated a year after they were cut and senior employees saw pay frozen.

Aviva shares rose by more than a fifth during 2013.

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The company had reined in executive pay to appease shareholders after half of them, angered at poor share price performance, voted against remuneration proposals in 2012, ultimately forcing out former chief executive Andrew Moss.

"We believe there is a clear link between the performance of the group, the value we add for shareholders and the remuneration of our most senior executives," Aviva said in its annual report.

($1 = 0.6065 British pounds)

(Reporting by Chris Vellacott; editing by Anthony Barker)

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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