Zurich Appoints Hongler Swiss CEO

Zurich Financial Services Group announced the appointment of Markus Hongler, 48, as the new CEO in charge of its Swiss business effective Jan. 1, 2006.

He succeeds Hans-Jürg Bernet, 56 who is retiring after serving as Swiss CEO since 2001. Hongler will report to Dieter Wemmer, CEO Europe General Insurance, and will be a member of the Executive Committee of the Europe General Insurance business division.

Wemmer commented: “Zurich Switzerland is a profitable business unit, making significant contributions to the results of the Group, as well as being an important flagship for the Group. Over the past few years, Hans-Jürg Bernet has successfully managed the turnaround of our business in Switzerland, and the Group is deeply indebted to him. I am delighted to have been able to engage Markus Hongler for the role of CEO Switzerland. With his extensive knowledge, profound experience and management skills, he will be responsible in a next phase for the further steady development of our business in the Swiss domestic market, to achieve sustainable, profitable growth and to support me in the process of European integration.”

Hongler, who has more than thirty years of experience in every sector of the insurance industry, indicated: “I am pleased to be returning to Zurich Switzerland and its strong management team. We will build on a firm foundation in order to carve out an even stronger position for Zurich in its domestic market.”

Hongler joined Zurich in 1983 where he held a variety of management positions in the area of international business. In 1994, he assumed marketing responsibility for corporate business at Zurich Switzerland. Three years later, he was appointed to the executive management team of Zurich Switzerland in charge of the “Direct” business unit. In 2001, as CEO, Markus Hongler was entrusted with setting up Continental Europe Corporate (CEC), Zurich’s first international business unit. Since the launch of a global unit for the global corporate business in April 2004, he has been CEO Global Corporate in Europe.