Fortis, the Belgian-Dutch banking, financial services and insurance group, announced that CEO Anton van Rossum, 59, who had earlier indicated to the Fortis Board not to extend his contract after August 2005, has decided to hand over his position as CEO to Jean-Paul Votron, 53.
Votron was Citigroup’s CEO Retail Bank for Western Europe, Central Europe, Russia, Middle East and Africa. He will succeed van Rossum effective October 11 2004. He began his career in 1975 at Unilever where he had management responsibilities in international sales, marketing and general management. Between 1991 and 1997 he served in different positions with Citibank in Europe and the US.
Fortis Chairman Maurice Lippens commented: “Anton informed us already at the end of last year that he wished to conclude his professional career at the age of 60, coinciding with the termination of his five year contract with Fortis in 2005. In our concerted search for his successor, we were fortunate that Jean-Paul Votron recently became available. He’s extremely well positioned to lead Fortis into the next growth phase.
“All of us at Fortis feel great respect for Anton for his decision to allow his successor to take over earlier than anticipated. Anton van Rossum has achieved more in his four years at Fortis than was originally planned. Projected synergies have been realized; Fortis has truly become more one company and we are producing healthy profits. He has led Fortis successfully through very difficult years, preparing Fortis for a prosperous future. The Board and the Fortis community at large are very grateful for what he has contributed to Fortis.”
Van Rossum, who spent 28 years as an executive with the consulting firm McKinsey & Co., has been largely credited with redirecting Fortis when he took over management of the company in September 2000. He commented: “As Board member and CEO of Fortis, I have been able, thanks to the commitment of the Executive Committee members and all Fortis staff, to achieve the goals we had set ourselves. I can now hand over to Jean-Paul in the knowledge and conviction that Fortis is better positioned than ever before to enter a new era of growth. I am looking forward to a new phase in my personal life and will follow Fortis with great interest.”
Votron responded: “I see it as a great honour and challenge to take over from Anton van Rossum and build further on Fortis’s success story by developing, with the members of the Executive Committee, the great potential of the people and the businesses of Fortis. Fortis is a respected and leading financial institution. It is still the first successful cross-border company in the industry.”
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