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Snowball to roll-out Towergate’s IFA expansion

Patrick Snowball, Aviva UK’s group executive director, has resigned suddenly from the company and is set to join the insurance consolidator Towergate Partnership as deputy chairman. 

Speculation about Snowball’s future had been rife following reports of disagreements between him and the man who beat him to the chief executive’s job, the company’s finance director Andrew Moss. Snowball’s departure was confirmed this morning when the insurer announced a number of senior management changes and confirmed the former British Army major would leave by the end of June, weeks before Moss formally replaces the retiring chief executive Richard Harvey.

In a surprise move, Snowball will join Towergate as the UK consolidator revealed it was now looking to accumulate independent financial advisors (IFAs) in a similar way to the dozens of small, non-life intermediaries it has swallowed in recent years.  

Towergate’s founder and chairman Peter Cullum explained: “A key focus for Patrick will be the ‘buy and build’ growth of our new business, Towergate Financial Services, and he will also play an invaluable role in maintaining our excellent relationship with Norwich Union.”

The privately owned Towergate is though to be looking to raise up to £250mn – led by HBOS – to build a war chest to finance its IFA expansion.

Last week, the company confirmed it had earned £94.4mn and produced some £1.1bn of gross written premiums in 2006. It had also made 16 acquisitions.

Aviva – the world’s fifth largest insurer – also explained this morning that Tom Godlasky, currently chief executive of its US business, would become chief executive of its entire North American unit. Simon Machell, currently CEO of Norwich Union General Insurance, will become chief executive, Asia Pacific and Igal Mayer, chief executive of Aviva Canada, will become CEO of Norwich Union General Insurance.

Lord Sharman of Redlynch, Aviva’s chairman, said: “Andrew Moss has appointed a team of strong leaders who will bring new energy and a solid track record of delivery to Aviva’s ambitious growth plans. Patrick Snowball has made an excellent contribution to Aviva over his many years with the group. The board wishes him every success in his future career.”

Snowball explained: “Having worked closely with Towergate since their early days, I am very familiar with their model and the value it creates in partnership with insurers and clients”.

He added: “I am immensely proud of my time at Norwich Union but the prospect of helping to lead Towergate through its next phase is compelling, and I am particularly excited by the opportunity to create a unique position in the life distribution sector.”

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