Concurrently with its 1st half earnings release (See related article), Swiss Re’s Board of Directors announced that Jacques Aigrain, currently Deputy CEO, has been appointed to succeed John Coomber, who will retire effective December 31 2005. Coomber will stand for election to the Board at the at the annual shareholders’ meeting in April 2006. “The hand-over in management is aligned with the implementation of Swiss Re’s new organisation structure ahead of schedule on 12 September 2005, ” said the announcement.
“Under John Coomber’s leadership Swiss Re strongly improved its results, strengthened its balance sheet and reset its strategic focus,” commented Board Chairman Peter Forstmoser. “As we change over to our new organisational structure, our long term management plan now allows a smooth transition at the helm of the organisation to Jacques Aigrain.”
Coomber added: “Over the past few years we rebuilt our financial strength and progressed our strategic agenda, most notably in the key areas of insurance securitisation and Admin ReSM. Having set up the new organisation, I can as planned, and with pride in our accomplishments, hand over to Jacques Aigrain.”
Aigrain, 51, “brings broad operational and management expertise to the position of CEO that will enable him to further strengthen Swiss Re’s leadership position,” said the announcement. “The dual French-Swiss citizen earned a doctorate in economics from Sorbonne University in Paris. In 1981 Aigrain began his career in the Corporate Finance Team of investment bank JP Morgan in Paris, London and New York. Between 1986 and 1992 he helped JP Morgan New York to build up a mergers and acquisitions (M&A) department, before finally becoming Co-Head of Corporate Finance at the firm.”
The bulletin noted: “For some time, Swiss Re has believed that wholesale banking skills are increasingly relevant to the future development of the reinsurance industry. Through his career in banking and his demonstrated aptitude in acquiring reinsurance skills, Jacques Aigrain captures both traditions and is ideally equipped to lead Swiss Re into the future.”
Swiss Re said that upon Aigrain’s accession as CEO “Michel Liès becomes Head Client Markets and Member of the Executive Board Committee. Martin Albers will succeed Michel Liès as Head Client Markets Europe.”
The reinsurer also said it will “create the function of a Chief Operating Officer to whom the Corporate Centre functions Communication & Human Resources, Information, Processes & Technologies and Group Legal will report. Andreas Beerli, currently Head of the Americas Property & Casualty Division, will become COO and Member of the Executive Board Committee. A successor to Andreas Beerli as Head Client Markets Americas Property & Casualty will be named at a later date.”
“With the alignment of the organisational structures and responsibilities to its strategic objectives, Swiss Re is well positioned for the forthcoming non-life renewals and has an excellent basis to deal with the dynamic market environment in reinsurance. Swiss Re’s goal of increasing earnings per share by 10 percent a year over the cycle and to achieve a 13 percent return on capital remains unchanged,” the announcement concluded.
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