Aviva has today named independent director and former Zurich Insurance executive Amanda Blanc as its new chief executive.

Ms Blanc immediately signalled a potential strategy overhaul, sending the British insurer's shares up.

She replaces Maurice Tulloch whom Aviva said was stepping down with immediate effect for family health reasons. 

It is the second change at the top in less than two months after chairman George Culmer took up the reins in May. 

The changes have revived speculation of a break-up of the life and general insurer, which some analysts and investors say has an unwieldy structure. 

"I'm not a business as usual person, and I haven't come here to do a business as usual job," Blanc, the first woman to run Aviva, said on a media call. 

"We will look at the strategic options," she added. 

Insider Tulloch took the top role in March 2019, amid concern about Aviva's lagging stock market performance. 

KBW analysts said they expected Blanc's appointment to lead to a strategic review, less than a year after Aviva reorganised into five divisions. 

KBW has advocated a break-up of the group "as the best way to maximise value". 

Blanc was appointed in January to the board of Aviva, which traces its history to the launch of the Hand in Hand Fire & Life Insurance Society in London in 1696 and has businesses in Europe, Asia and Canada. 

Prior to Zurich Insurance, Blanc was group CEO at AXA UK and has served as chair of the Association of British Insurers and president of the Chartered Insurance Institute. 

Former Aviva CEO Maurice Tulloch

"The board and I were saddened to hear of the personal reasons behind Maurice Tulloch's desire to step down and we wish him and his family the very best for the future," Culmer said.