Prem Watsa, Crum & Forster Holdings Corp.’s current Chairman and CEO and the company’s parent, Canada’s Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, announced that Nikolas Antonopoulos, who has been President and COO of Crum & Forster’s operating companies since May 2000, has been elected Chief Executive Officer of Crum & Forster Holdings Corp. and its operating companies effective April 2, 2004.
Antonopoulos succeeds Watsa as CEO of Crum & Forster Holdings Corp. and Bruce Esselborn as CEO of its operating companies. Esselborn will remain as Chairman of the Board of Crum & Forster’s operating companies.
Mr. Esselborn’s decision to continue with Crum & Forster or Fairfax on a reduced schedule was previously announced at the Fairfax shareholder meeting held during 2003 and in the Form S-4 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission by Crum & Forster Holdings Corp.
Watsa commented: “Bruce and Nick have done an outstanding job of turning Crum & Forster around. Nick is the obvious choice and the right person to succeed Bruce.”
Esselborn indicated that “This change in management has been planned for quite a while and is consistent with my desires to decrease my executive responsibilities and to return to Atlanta so I can, among other things, spend more time with my family. I have worked with Nick for a number of years, we share a common business background and I have confidence in Nick’s abilities to continue to develop the company.”
Antonopoulos began his career with AIG in 1982 where he held various senior management positions in National Union Fire Insurance Co., AIG’s financial lines subsidiary, and AIG’s domestic brokerage group. In 1995 he left AIG to form his own insurance consulting business before joining Marsh & McLennan Capital Inc. in 1996 as a principal. He noted that “Since Bruce and I agree on the business model that is appropriate for C&F, I see no need to make any major changes in C&F’s operating philosophy going forward.”
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