Aviva CEO a distinguished alumnus

Mark Wilson was born in Rotorua and came to the University of Waikato on an economics scholarship.

In an eventful career, Mark has rescued a number of underperforming global companies, consolidating his reputation as a skilled turnaround specialist. Starting out in New Zealand, he then spent 14 years in Asia, working his way up to be CEO of Asian insurance giant AIA in 2009.  With the collapse of AIA's US parent, AIG, Mark navigated AIA through the global financial crisis and is credited with keeping the company afloat. As CEO, Mark restructured AIA to become a leading pan-Asian company and a household name, and led it to what was one of the largest IPOs in corporate history.

Mark joined Aviva as Group Chief Executive Officer at the start of 2013.  The company, which traces its history back to 1696, is a British icon, but before Mark took the helm it had been struggling.  He led Aviva's £6 billion acquisition of Friends Life Group in 2015, the largest deal in the UK insurance sector for 15 years.  Aviva is the largest insurer in the UK and a UK Top 30 Company, operating in 16 countries with 34 million customers and over £400 billion of assets.   Mark is ranked number 12 in Bloomberg’s “world’s best value CEOs”.

Mark is a champion for sustainable business and is a key commentator on the role of business in society.  In September 2015, he spoke at the UN General Assembly in New York during the launch of that organisation’s sustainable development goals - the only global business leader to have done so. He was named in the Sunday Times 2016 list of Britain’s most influential people and was named the 2016 UK New Zealander of the year.

For his outstanding and sustained success in international business, Mark Wilson is a worthy recipient of a University of Waikato Distinguished Alumni Award.

Distinguished Alumni Award

The University of Waikato's Distinguished Alumni Awards were held on Friday 31 March 2017 on the Hamilton campus.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards celebrate and honour University of Waikato alumni who have made outstanding contributions in their careers and communities, taking into account excellence in the professional, cultural, creative and voluntary sectors.