Swiss Re’s Board of Directors has accepted the resignation of CEO Jacques Aigrain. The news comes a week after the Zurich-based insurer announced it expects to record a net loss for the previous fiscal year. Hoping for operational continuity, the company said Deputy CEO and COO Stefan Lippe would succeed Aigrain as of Feb.18.
“Having taken measures to reinforce the Group’s capital strength and further de-risk its investment portfolio, the interests of Swiss Re are now best served by a change in executive leadership,” Aigrain said in a statement. “Stefan Lippe has been the architect of Swiss Re‘s focus on disciplined, quality underwriting in the reinsurance business. I am proud to have had him by my side as a trusted colleague and wish him and the team the greatest of success for Swiss Re to shine anew.”
German-born Lippe has been with the company for 25 years and was appointed a member of Swiss Re’s Executive Board in 1995. He served in a variety of roles in the company’s reinsurance, property/casualty and life/health businesses before assuming the role of COO and deputy CEO in September 2008.
Lippe takes the helm at a tough time for the company. Despite strong underwriting performance in its core businesses, Swiss Re reported an $858 million loss for 2008, due mostly to investment losses. At the same time, the company announced it was accepting a $2.6 billion investment from Omaha, Neb.-based Berkshire Hathaway to strengthen its capital position.
“I am clear about the challenges that Swiss Re needs to address,’’ Lippe said in a statement. “Our core re/insurance portfolio is sound. We are focused on meeting our clients’ needs, creating shareholder value and providing quality career opportunities in a stimulating business environment. I look forward to working closely with the Board, the executive team and the employees of Swiss Re in my new capacity.’’
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