FORMER Aviva Ireland boss Stuart Purdy has quit the insurer's Dublin-based European hub -- less than a week after the European HQ lost its chief executive.
But Aviva bosses have insisted the European project, which saw Aviva replace a company network with a Dublin-centred branch structure, was not under threat despite the departures.
Mr Purdy's surprise departure comes more than four years after the Briton joined Aviva's Irish operations as deputy chief executive in September 2006.
He was promoted to chief executive of Aviva Ireland -- then known as Hibernian -- in February 2007, before moving to a senior role in the newly established European HQ in 2009.
Stunned staff at Aviva's Park One complex were informed of Mr Purdy's immediate departure by email yesterday. The note also confirmed Mr Purdy's new role as chief executive of Asia and the Middle East for rival insurer RSA.
"It's true all right," Mr Purdy said yesterday, when contacted by the Irish Independent. "I've had a great time here and worked with some really talented folk, but I'm really pleased with the new role."
Mr Purdy is understood to have spent several weeks in talks with RSA, which tabled a failed bid to buy Aviva's Irish, UK and Canadian businesses last autumn.
Mr Purdy stressed that there was "no link" between his departure and last week's announcement that Aviva Europe boss Andrea Moneta was stepping down.
A spokesman for Aviva last night insisted the European strategy was "in place and will continue". "We're committed to Ireland remaining the home of our European legal structure," he said.