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They ask to ban for life the sexist shareholders of Avia for the abuse of Amanda Blanc

We must ban AGM chauvinists for life: Activists demand action after Aviva CEO Amanda Blanc faced barrage of sexist slurs

Sexist people who disrupt annual general meetings should face a lifetime ban to protect female bosses from abuse, say major investor groups.

ShareSoc and the Shareholders Association have called for action, after three people verbally attacked Aviva boss Amanda Blanc at the insurer’s general meeting of shareholders last Monday.

Yesterday, the boss of Aviva, who is one of 10 female CEOs at FTSE 100 companies, called for tough action but declined to explain specific measures.

Storm of sexism: Aviva boss Amanda Blanc (pictured) faced shocking abuse last week after three small investors made misogynistic comments at the insurer's general meeting.

Storm of sexism: Aviva boss Amanda Blanc (pictured) faced shocking abuse last week after three small investors made misogynistic comments at the insurer’s general meeting.

However, investor groups say the threat of a lifetime ban would help deter unacceptable behaviour.

Charles Henderson, chairman of the UK Shareholders’ Association, said: “It would make them think twice, especially if they want to vote at the AGM.”

Blanc faced shocking abuse last week after three small investors made misogynistic comments.

One, John Farmer, said she was “not the man for the job”, while a second shareholder, Michael Mason-Mahon, questioned whether she should “wear pants”, a reference to her male predecessors.

A third shareholder, Ted O’Toole, sarcastically welcomed gender diversity on Aviva’s board. He said: ‘They are so good at basic cleaning activities, I am sure this will be reflected in the direction of the board going forward.’

ShareSoc is also in favor of banning misogynistic shareholders from meetings.

Director Cliff Weight said: ‘It’s outrageous. If the shareholders do not behave, they should be asked to leave the meeting.

‘The nuts must be removed. You can give them a yellow card and then a red card.’

ShareSoc also recommended that companies specify in AGM invitations that racist or misogynistic comments are unacceptable.

Blanc believes the abuse he faced last week will have repercussions on how meetings are conducted in the future.

She told the Daily Mail: ‘It’s not okay for someone to be criticized for their gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity.

‘This type of behavior should be denounced and not ignored.

‘I want to be judged on my performance as the leader of Aviva. I don’t want to be judged if I wear a skirt or dress to work.

“We have to recognize that there is a problem that we have to address.”

Blanc took over Aviva in July 2020 and has set out to overhaul the insurer after a series of male CEOs failed to revive its fortunes.

Yesterday, the company confirmed that it had returned £3.75bn to shareholders and will release a further £1bn later this month.

Blanc also hinted that Aviva could return more cash to investors this year.

The company also said life insurance sales rose 2 percent year-on-year in the first three months of this year, reaching 8.4 billion pounds.

Shareholders You can expect to receive £870m in dividends this year, which is forecast to rise to £915m next year.

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