Finland’s Sampo Names Magnusson as CEO and President, Succeeding Stadigh

February 7, 2019

Nordic insurance and financial holding group Sampo said on Thursday that Torbjorn Magnusson would take over as chief executive and president from Kari Stadigh next year, as well as becoming chairman of Nordea.

“Torbjorn Magnusson will immediately start focusing on his new responsibilities. The Sampo and IF Boards have therefore today appointed Morten Thorsrud, the head of IF Business Area Private, to succeed him as the CEO of IF,” Sampo said.

Sampo shares were up 3.1 percent at 42.58 euros by 0934 GM after it also reported a rise in fourth quarter profit, driven by earnings at its property and casualty insurance business IF, which was run by Magnusson, a Swede born in 1963.

Magnusson was simultaneously proposed as the board chairman of Nordea, the biggest bank in the Nordic region, where Sampo is the largest shareholder.

Christer Gardell, managing partner at activist investor Cevian Capital, which holds 2.3 percent of shares in Nordea, told Reuters he welcomed the appointment.

“Torbjorn Magnusson has an outstanding track record from IF. He took the company from a loss situation to become one of the world’s most profitable larger insurance companies. He is knowledgeable, meticulous, tough and can keep a high working pace. Just the qualities that Nordea needs,” Gardell said.

IF Beats Forecasts

Sampo’s fourth quarter pretax profit rose 3 percent from a year ago to 451 million euros ($512 million), beating analysts’ average forecast of 411 million in a Reuters poll.

Pretax profit at its largest unit IF rose to 221 million euros, beating all analysts’ forecasts in the poll.

Sampo proposed a dividend of 2.85 euros, also above the average forecast of 2.76 euros in the poll.

Sampo’s combined ratio improved slightly year-on-year to 83.5 percent from 83.6 percent, beating analysts’ average expectation of 86 percent.

($1 = 0.8812 euros) (Reporting by Anne Kauranen, Tarmo Virki, Johannes Hellstrom; editing by David Evans and Alexander Smith)

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