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AXA group ceo steps down

Tuesday 8th August 2006

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The man who woke up a sleepy mutual and turned AXA into a focussed company steps down.

AXA's group chief executive Les Owen has announced he is stepping down after six and a half years leading the company in Australia and New Zealand.

Owen has announced he will not be renewing his contract which expires on December 31.

"I will be 58 next year and basically I have decided that the time is right for a change and that I would like to do something different."

He says there have been many successes during his term including changing the culture in Australian and New Zealand businesses "from that of a sleepy mutual to one that is now focused, achievement orientated and performance driven."

One area he would like to have achieved more is in New Zealand.

"I think in retrospect I did not, in the early days, pay as much attention to our business in New Zealand as I should have and that was slower to see the culture change that we saw in Australia."

Owen says he made a lot of changes to the management team in the first year, since then it has been settled, stable and "very committed to the company and to our objectives over the last five years."

He says he is not looking for a full time executive role in the financial services industry, but he is interested in a part-time or non-executive role in private equity.

Owen said that the board expects that an internal successor will be named within a few weeks.

Meanwhile Andy Penn has been reappointed to his role as chief executive Australia and New Zealand.

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