Zurich Financial Services announced a decision to regroup the company’s businesses in Europe to create one Business Division.
Effective March 1, the new division will comprise Continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Southern Africa. Axel Lehmann, Chief Executive Officer of the Business Division Continental Europe, will be responsible for the new division.
Analysts see the move as another step on ZFS’ road to recovery under CEO James J. Schiro, who took over the company in May 2002, following a series of serious losses. He has been instrumental in shedding “non-core” businesses, raising an additional $5 billion in new capital, cutting costs and restructuring the company to return Europe’s third largest insurer (behind Allianz and AXA) to profitability.
Schiro, former chief executive of PricewaterhouseCoopers, is well on the way to achieving that goal. ZFS has shed a number of units in Asia and other areas, and is concentrating on its home markets in North America, the U.K. and Europe with profitable results.