Sexism in Aviva when a shareholder tells CEO Amanda Blank: “You are not a‘ man ’for a senior position

Yesterday at the annual general meeting Aviva was overwhelmed by sexism after shareholders sent a series of humiliating comments to CEO Amanda Blanc.

One investor complained that Blanc was not “the man for the job,” and another congratulated the insurer on the diversity of the board of directors, saying women were “so good at doing basic household chores”.

Chairman George Kalmer said he was “stunned” by the question-and-answer session.

Sexist comments: Amanda Blanc (pictured) became the first woman to head a major British insurer when she was appointed head in 2020. Shares have risen 47% since her arrival

He said: “I’m not going to thank everyone for your comments because I think there were some comments at that session that were just out of place and I don’t expect and will [not] want to hear at any future general meeting.

“I’m shocked, to be honest.”

Blanc became the first woman to head a major British insurer when she was appointed head in 2020. Shares have risen 47 percent since she took office.

She was praised for her effectiveness the year after her appointment, when she began to quickly streamline Aviva, selling off a number of foreign units.

But one of the shareholders of the general meeting, Michael Mason-Mahon, mentioned his predecessors and asked whether 55-year-old Blanc should “wear pants”.

Another, Ted O’Toole, seemed grateful for the gender divide in government, as almost half were women.

But he added: “They are so good at doing basic household chores, I’m sure it will be reflected in the direction of the council in the future.”

Another complained that the share price of Aviva had risen insufficiently, even as Blanc went ahead in sales of businesses he no longer needed. “That means she’s not the right person for the job,” he added.

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