Financial services group Aviva has appointed Cathryn Riley as CIO, who takes the role today. She replaced Toby Redshaw, who departed to become global CIO of American Express last November.

Riley has been with Aviva in a number of roles since 1996 holding the position of UK commercial director in her last post. Although she has had responsibilities for IT before, it appears her previous career has been in non-technical business-line roles, including HR, customer services, operations and general management.

She became commercial director in January 2010 at the same time as the company appointed a new UK CEO, Mark Hodges, with a remit for bringing the company's UK life and general insurance businesses closer together.

She moved to this from the role of chief operating and information officer for the company's European business. Prior to that, she held the role of Norwich Union Insurance retail business director with responsibility for the company's retail direct operations.

As Aviva CIO, Riley reports directly to the chief executive Andrew Moss and sits on the group executive committee. This is the first time the company head of IT has sat on the committee.

According to a company statement, she will have a particular focus on drawing together regional teams to make sure they are fully aligned to deliver strategic commercial goals.

In the statement, Moss said: "The IT agenda is crucial to our business success and the time is right to increase focus on technology at a board level."

Riley has also worked for British Coal, British Airways, Coopers & Lybrand and Bupa.