Smith to Join Swiss Re as President, CEO Americas; Ozendo Retiring

June 15, 2011

The Directors of Swiss Re Group and the Directors of Swiss Re America Holding Corporation announced that J. Eric Smith will join Swiss Re as President and CEO, Americas effective July 11. He will replace Pierre Ozendo who retires this year “after more than 35 years in the insurance industry.”

Smith will be responsible for the company’s Property and Casualty (P&C) and Life and Health (L&H) reinsurance businesses in the US, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. Swiss Re said he would also have “operational oversight of all of the group’s activity in these regions. He will join the Swiss Re Group Management Board, reporting to Chief Marketing Officer for reinsurance, Christian Mumenthaler.”

Swiss Re also said that Ozendo would join the Board of Swiss Re America Holding Corporation as a Non-Executive Director after his retirement.

Smith is a 30-year insurance veteran. He is joining Swiss Re from USAA Life Insurance Co. As its President, “he led the effort to provide life, health, and annuity solutions through direct channels,” aid the bulletin. Smith also serves on the Executive Committee of the American Council of Life Insurers, a trade association that represents the country’s largest life insurers and reinsurers.

Prior to joining USAA, Smith was President of Allstate Financial Services where he was responsible for the $billion Allstate agency line of business, which, Swiss Re said, he “restored to targeted returns on required capital within 12 months. Smith also spent over 20 years with Country Financial, helping to build its Property and Casualty business.

The bulletin also noted that throughout his career, Smith has been an advocate of technology as a way to not only to create business value and competitiveness, but also to increase accessibility to insurance products. “From the early days of point-of sale software and sales force automation while at Country and Allstate, to innovative developments around underwriting and instant issue at USAA, Smith has continuously tapped technology innovation to make insurance easier to distribute, acquire and maintain.”

Mumenthaler commented: “We believe Eric’s fresh perspective, high energy, combined P&C and L&H experience and strategic marketing leadership will be ideal to lead Swiss Re Americas in the next phase of our development in this region.”

Swiss Re Group CEO Stefan Lippe also thanked Pierre Ozendo for his 16 years of contribution to Swiss Re, beginning in 1995 as CEO of the then-subsidiary Union Re, and including his leadership of the company’s Asian and American operations, both of which prospered under his stewardship.

Ozendo will remain in his role to facilitate a complete transition to Smith, who will relocate from San Antonio, Texas to Armonk, New York, the site of Swiss Re’s Americas headquarters.

Source: Swiss Re

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