UK - Keith Jones is to leave insurance group Aviva's Morley Fund Management arm after seven years as chief executive, the company said.

"Keith will leave the company at the end of this year. His decision comes after Morley delivered a 45% increase in profits year on year for the six months to 30 June 2006."

"After seven years at the helm, I have decided it is appropriate for me to take a short break before taking on new and different challenges in the City," Jones said.

"I have enjoyed working with the team immensely and I leave confident of Morley's ability to be highly successful within the fund management industry in the coming years."

He added: "The company has maintained the momentum of consistent growth since that time, up to a record set of results earlier this month.  I am also particularly proud of the positive contribution that the firm has made to the evolution of good corporate governance in the UK."

Jones joined Norwich Union Investment Management as CEO in 1999 and was appointed CEO of Morley at the time of the merger between Norwich Union and CGU.

He recently completed a term as chairman of the Association of British Insurers' Investment Committee. He is also a board member of the Investment Management Association.

Executive search firm MWM Consulting has been appointed to conduct the search for Keith's successor.

Morley chairman Philip Scott said: "Morley is Aviva's largest fund management business, a leader in the UK and with a growing presence in Europe with a strong investment platform and access to powerful distribution channels.

"Under Keith's leadership, Morley has delivered strong financial and operational performance that establishes a foundation to achieve future growth."