He will be replaced at Aegon UK by chief operating officer Adrian Grace who has held the position for the past year and oversaw the provider’s £33m cost cutting programme during 2010.
Grace joined Aegon in February 2009 as director of group development, responsible for delivering greater operational efficiency in Aegon’s sales force and its adviser businesses Origen and Positive Solutions.
Prior to joining Aegon, he held a variety of business development
roles at GE Capital, as well as managing director positions at Sage Group, HBoS and Barclays Insurance.
Thoresen leaves Aegon after six years, during which time he has been instrumental in setting the agenda for the UK insurance industry.
His 2007 Review of Generic Financial Advice called for a national service providing basic advice for people that is not linked to product sales.
He has also repeatedly called for the industry and the FSA to do more to tackle the protection, pensions and long-term care gap.
Thoresen will join the ABI after an embarrassing time for the trade body, as it struggles to keep key personnel. He will replace Kerrie Kelly who resigned in July last year after barely six months in the role.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Davis, who was announced as the new ABI director of investment affairs in November, has since revealed he will not take up the role after all.
Davis, non-executive director of Hargreaves Lansdown and founder of Independent Investor, said ‘other commitments’ have taken up more time than expected, making him unable to head up the association.
He was supposed to be replacing Peter Montagnon, who resigned around a year ago and left the ABI in May to join the Financial Reporting Council.
Thoresen was appointed by an appointments panel of the ABI Board headed by ABI chairman, Tim Breedon following an external recruitment process lead by Odgers Berndtson.
Breedon said: “Otto is a leading industry executive who will bring strong leadership and proven industry expertise to the ABI’s work.
“Otto was the unanimous choice of the ABI Board Appointments Panel, having taken part in a competitive external search process, which resulted in a shortlist of five candidates. I am sure ABI members will be delighted that someone of his calibre will be leading the organisation forward.”
“I am grateful to Maggie Craig for her hard work as acting director general over the last eight months.”
Thoresen said: “I am incredibly excited about taking on this challenge and representing all parts of the insurance industry at this critical time. This is an industry I care passionately about and I will relish the opportunity to engage in crucially important debates with governments, regulators, customers and stakeholders. The insurance industry is facing very significant changes over the next few years and it will be vital that we punch our weight and contribute all we can to the challenges facing us.
“The ABI is a strong trade body which I know well from my six years on its Board, most recently as a deputy chairman and Audit Committee Chairman. Its principal strength as an organisation is its close relationship with its members and I intend to develop this still further as director general, especially with those sectors of the membership I have been less involved with during my career in insurance.”