Operational transformation is a central activity at QBE these days, and leading the change in North America since late 2012 has been Chief Operating Officer Sue Harnett, a 30-year veteran of Citigroup.

Executive Summary

Operational transformation is a central activity at QBE these days, and leading the effort in North America since late 2012 has been Chief Operating Officer Sue Harnett, a 30-year veteran of Citigroup. In a recent Carrier Management interview, Harnett described how her background in change management in the financial services industry prepared her for QBE's challenges and what transformations are in motion at the company today. This article is part of a five-part series of profiles of COOs of P/C insurers.

The COO role was new to QBE North America when she joined, Harnett reveals, explaining that while individual disciplines like claims, IT and legal previously reported directly to the CEO, an “agenda of activity” that included “transformation initiatives across every part of the organization” prompted the decision to create the position.

Carrier Management interviewed Harnett recently as part of a series of profiles of property/casualty COOs. Harnett, who is unique among the operations leaders we interviewed in that she has no previous background in the insurance industry, is up to the task.

The 80/20 rule applies, she says. “About 80 percent in any senior leadership role is the same. The 20 percent that’s different is what you have to really make sure you understand or have someone near you that understands it very well.”

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