Insurance Australia CEO Wilkins to Retire Next Month; Harmer Named Successor

By | October 7, 2015

Insurance Australia Group Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Mike Wilkins will step down next month after seven years at the helm and be replaced by Peter Harmer, the company said in a regulatory filing Wednesday.

Harmer, 54, currently the CEO of IAG Labs, which is driving the insurer’s digital strategy, will take over Nov. 16 while Wilkins will continue in an executive role until March 31 to help with the transition,Insurance Australia said.

Wilkins, 58, engineered the company’s exit from its struggling UK unit, acquired the insurance business of Wesfarmers Ltd., and entered a partnership with Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Harmer faces the challenge of bolstering the insurer’s Asian businesses including joint ventures in China, India and Malaysia.

“Harmer’s track record in creating successful businesses and transforming cultures made him the right person to lead IAG,” Chairman Brian Schwartz said in the statement.

Insurance Australia shares have climbed almost 25 percent during Wilkins’s tenure, outperforming main competitors Suncorp Group Ltd., QBE Insurance Group Ltd. and the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index.

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