THE head of Aviva's Irish operations has stepped aside from his position, it emerged yesterday.
The insurance giant is currently recruiting for a replacement for chief executive Sean Egan.
Mr Egan is believed to have made the decision for health reasons.
The chief executive's decision to step aside was communicated to staff last week.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, a company spokesman emphasised that Mr Egan had not left the company but was expected to be out of the office for some time.
The company has begun recruiting for a chief executive with a view to filling the position by the end of next month. It is believed both internal and external candidates will be assessed.
"Sean has stepped aside but it is business as usual for Aviva Ireland. The various business units are carrying out their duties as normal and there will be no disruption to the functions carried out here by the company," the spokesman said.
Even though it will be business as usual for the company, the loss of Mr Egan has been a major blow to morale on the ground at Aviva.
The popular 56-year-old was named CEO shortly after the company announced plans for some 950 job losses in late 2011, and is believed to have fought hard to reduce that number, earning the respect of rank-and-file staff in the process.
Ultimately, between 500 and 550 roles were eliminated, with the vast majority of staff leaving through voluntary redundancy.
The original job cuts were announced as Aviva brought its Irish business, which had traditionally operated as a separate entity to the UK, closer to the UK division and amalgamated roles between the two regions.
That reorganisation came as part of a wider restructuring within the group, which was headed by then-chief executive Andrew Moss and top lieutenant Igal Mayer.
Both men left the group last year.