Munich Re announced that CEO Dr. Hans-Jürgen Schinzler, 62, who’s headed the world’s largest reinsurer’s Board of Management for almost 11 years, will resign his position, effective December 31.
Schinzler is leaving “of his own accord” said the announcement, which was made following a Board meeting yesterday. It noted that he “will have served Munich Re for 35 years, twelve of these as the Board member responsible for Finance.” The Board thanked him for his “successful work” and acknowledged in particular “his initiative and role in turning Munich Re into a broadly based financial services group.”
Dr. Nikolaus von Bomhard, 46, has been named to succeed Schinzler as Chairman effective January 1, 2004. He has been with Munich Re since 1985 in various divisions and functions; at present he has responsibility on the Board of Management for the regional divisions covering northern, western and southern Europe as well as Latin America. “He has been groomed for this task in consultation with the Supervisory Board,” said the bulletin.
The announcement indicated that Schinzler will maintain his ties to the company by becoming a member of its Supervisory Board. He will become eligible for membership on that body following his retirement, and that of current Board member Rudolf Ficker, 70, subject to German corporate regulations. The Supervisory Board’s current Chairman, Mr. Ulrich Hartmann, has intimated that he will relinquish his chairmanship, in the event Schinzler decides to seek the post.
Despite his acknowledged success in transforming many of Munich Re’s operations, including building up Ergo, its primary insurance operation, Schinzler has been under fire for the giant company’s recent poor performance, and what has been seen as his reluctance to reduce Munich Re’s cross holdings, notably with Allianz and the HVB Group. Losses at those two company’s reduced Munich Re’s fourth quarter 2002 earnings by around 700 million Euros ($770 million), and contributed to its 2.2 billion Euro ($2.42 billion) net loss. That result followed a third quarter loss of 859 million Euros ($945 million), and was the major factor in the company losing its coveted triple-‘A’ rating from Standard & Poor’s. It’s currently rated ‘AA-.’
Although Munich Re posted a 1.1 billion Euro ($1.331 billion) profit for 2002, much of that came from selling stakes it held in other companies rather than from operations.
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