In a sudden, but not totally unexpected, move France’s SCOR Group announced that Denis Kessler would replace Jacques Blondeau as Chairman and CEO.
The change follows a profit warning that SCOR expects a 250 million Euro ($246 million) loss for the year (See IJ Website Oct. 30) and subsequent downgrades by the rating agencies (See IJ Website Nov.1). Blondeau, who’s headed SCOR for eight years, apparently took the blame.
He follows Bob Mendelsohn at Royal & Sun, Gianfranco Gutty at Generali, Lukas Mühlemann at Credit Suisse (parent of Winterthur) and Paul Batchelor at AMP in the growing list of executives who have been forced out by poor results. Au revoir Jacques.
Kessler, the longtime head of the Fédération Française des Sociétés d’Assurance (FFSA) and Vice-Chairman of the MEDEF (The French Business Confederation), will leave both posts to devote full time to SCOR. He’s also a member of the Economic and Social Council, a member of the National Insurance Council, a member of the European Insurance Committee and a member of the National Accounting Commission. He served as a member of the Executive Committee of AXA in 1997-98.
“In the forthcoming weeks, my priorities are to restore confidence in the Group and to return us rapidly to profitability,” Kessler stated. “In the immediate future I therefore intend to concentrate on the planned rights issue while also being actively involved in the end of year renewal season. I am confident in the future of SCOR, in the quality of its staff and in the support of its clients.”
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