Zurich Financial Services Group announced plans to move its Latin American regional headquarters from Santiago, Chile, to Miami in early 2007. The Company also appointed Jaime Paredes, 51, as the new CEO of Zurich Latin America, effective November 6, 2006. He succeeds Gastón Aguirre, “who,” Zurich said, “is stepping down from this role as he has decided not to relocate to Miami for personal reasons.” Paredes will report to Martin South, CEO of Zurich’s International Businesses Division.
Commenting on the headquarters move, South noted: “The choice of Miami follows a thorough review which identified the city as a strategic location which hosts the Latin American headquarters of many financial services companies, reinsurers and major broking partners. A central and convenient location, the city also offers the chance to use existing infrastructure, making it an ideal hub location.”
Paredes joins Zurich from ACE, where he has been Chairman and CEO of its Latin American business since 2003. Before joining ACE he worked with Skandia for 23 years in various leadership positions, where he last held the position of President and COO of Skandia Latin America. He holds a Master of Philosophy in Economics, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering.
South commented: “I am delighted that we will be able to count on Jaime’s vast experience in leading the region’s operations. I am confident that he will maximize our growth opportunities there, as well as strengthen our horizontal leverage across the region and the division.”
Aguirre, who has held the position of Zurich Latin America’s CEO since 2000, will continue in his role as CEO of Zurich’s operation in Chile, Chilena Consolidada. He had held this role in parallel to his regional responsibilities. The bulletin noted that “during his twelve years as CEO of the Chilean business, Mr. Aguirre has built it to be the no. 2 general insurance player in the country and a key player in the life insurance segment.”
Zurich also indicated that Latin America represents the largest part of its International Businesses Division in premium terms. “In 2005, it wrote more than $1 billion in gross written premiums and policy fees. In the two years to December 2005, gross written premiums and policy fees grew by 16 percent. The region comprises the operations in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Venezuela.”
In a separate bulletin Zurich announced the appointment of Angel Serna, 41, to become its new Head of Media Relations, effective immediately. “In this capacity, Mr. Serna will be responsible for the management of Zurich’s media relations activities on a global basis, and will report to Francis Bouchard, Global Head of Corporate Communications,” said the bulletin.
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