US insurance giant AIG has named internal candidate Aidan Connaughton as the new general manager of its Irish business, after the previous head quit to during the summer to join rival Aviva.
Mr Connaughton has been with AIG for more than 30 years and served most recently as head of personal insurance for AIG Ireland.
Thomas Lillelund, chief executive officer for AIG's business across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (Emea), said in a note sent to Irish insurance brokers on Friday that the group had carried out an "extensive search to find the right leader to carry on the positive momentum built into our business" in Ireland, before picking Mr Connaughton.
“I have the utmost confidence in his ability to drive our business forward,” Mr Lillelund said.
Mr Connaughton (55) succeeds Declan O’Rourke, who handed in his notice in June after 27 years to take over as interim chief executive of UK-based Aviva’s general insurance business in Ireland.
Mr O'Rourke has replaced Nick Amin, an executive with the wider Aviva group, who was parachuted into Dublin to run the business on an interim business last November after John Quinlan went on leave. Mr Quinlan launched legal proceedings in July against his employer.
AIG doesn't publish overall accounts for the Irish business, which was established 44 years ago. The most recent insight came when Mr O'Rourke appeared before the Oireachtas finance committee last October, and said the company generated about €300 million in annual general insurance premiums in the Republic, making it the seventh largest player in the market.
AIG also owns health insurance provider Laya Healthcare.
Mr Connaughton’s appointment comes two weeks after the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) said that it has “reasonable grounds” to suspect that a number of Irish motor insurers broke antitrust laws, almost four years after it began an investigation into whether firms were engaging in signalling premium prices to rivals.
AIG Europe, Allianz, Aviva Insurance, Axa Insurance, FBD Insurance, trade association Brokers Ireland (formerly the Irish Brokers Association), and AA Ireland, an insurance intermediary are the companies subject to the investigation.
The competition watchdog said that the findings are provisional and that “no conclusion should be drawn at this stage that there has been a breach of competition law”. The firms are expected to strongly defend themselves.