James Schiro, an American and former head of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, who took over as CEO of Zurich Financial Services (ZFS) last week, following the resignation of longtime chief Rolf Hüppi, stated in a series of interviews that he intends to rebuild investor and customer confidence in the company.
Schiro, the first non-Swiss executive to head ZFS, indicated that, despite the fact that he doesn’t speak German, the management team at ZFS would understand him. He does, however, plan on learning the language.
As the former head of a big five accounting firm, Schiro will bring some needed financial acumen to the job. Hüppi was forced out following a series of profit warnings and a steady decline in ZFS net income, culminating in a net loss of $387 million in 2001.
The company’s most immediate need is to rebuild its capital base and its reserves after the losses. Hüppi indicated that it could require as much as $1 billion in new capital, and shareholders agreed, authorizing an increase in contingent share capital from 3 million to 8 million, and increasing the number of authorized shares by 6 million.
Schiro recognizes the need as well. He told London’s Financial Times that, “We must ensure that we can fully participate in the upturn in the current insurance cycle and that our capital is in line with the anticipated rapid premium growth, as well as our desired ratings level.”|”schiro, sets, out, rebuild, confidence, in, zurich
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