FN25: How Amanda Blanc led the way for women in the FTSE

As part of our 25th anniversary celebration, Financial News has profiled 25 of the most influential people in the city over the last quarter of a century. Here’s why Amanda Blanc managed the cut.

As one of just eight female executives in the FTSE 100 and head of a financial services firm that boasts of achieving gender diversity goals for its senior ranks, Amanda Blanc paves the way for women in business who have ambitions to reach the top.

Blanc took over at the helm of the UK’s largest insurance company, Aviva, in July 2020. She has since repositioned it, withdrawing from various markets, including selling her businesses in France, Vietnam and Italy, and downsizing her underperforming investment arm. It will instead focus on core businesses in the UK, Canada and Ireland.

Aviva is one of the few signatories of the Women in Finance Charter to achieve its goal of 30% female representation in its senior team.

“Amanda has a significant influence with the UK’s largest insurance company, Aviva, while making a significant contribution to the UK insurance industry and to society at large,” said Jeff Tijssen, global fintech manager at Bain & Co.

READ Financial News’ list of the 25 biggest city influencers when we turn 25

Nearly a year after the Aviva appointment, Blanc was named the UK Ministry of Finance’s new champion of women in finance in March 2021. At the time, she tweeted: “If we can create work environments where there are no career barriers for talented women and unlock their full potential – it’s definitely a win for everyone in the UK plc. It’s an honor to take on this role for @hmtreasury #WomenInFinance ”.

Blanc has long been a strong voice in the insurance industry. She was former President of the Association of British Insurers and President of the Chartered Insurance Institute.

With 30 years of experience in the sector before joining Aviva, Blanc was Head of Emea and Global Banking at Zurich Insurance, and before that she spent seven years at AXA in various leadership roles, most recently as CEO of UK, PPP and Ireland. She also made a residency as Deputy CEO at Towergate Insurance.

She was listed as one of the 100 most powerful women of Forbes last year, which placed her among the likes of Kamala Harris, Christine Lagarde, Oprah Winfrey and the Queen. She has also been involved Financial news‘own list of most influential women in finance for the last two years.

A Welsh woman known for her love of rugby, Blanc is chair of the Professional Rugby Board and the board of the Welsh Rugby Union, though she plans to step down from the roles once a replacement is found.

Now the CEO of Aviva, Blanc was chairman of the Association of British Insurers and president of the Chartered Insurance Institute.

For more from our 25th anniversary special, just click here.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, send an email to Clare Dickinson

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