QBE announced on Monday that Marty Becker will succeed Belinda Hutchinson as chairman when she retires from the QBE board in March 2014.
Hutchinson had previously advised the board at the start of 2013 that she would not seek re-election in 2015, having served as a director of QBE for 16 years and as chair for three.
The board has requested that she remain as chairman until the release of QBE’s full-year 2013 results.
Becker, a nonexecutive director, will be appointed deputy chair before succeeding Hutchinson as chairman in March.
Becker was appointed to the board of QBE in August 2013, after a long and successful career in the general insurance industry in the United States, Bermuda and the U.K., most recently as CEO of Alterra Capital Holdings.
The board has also appointed Duncan Boyle to succeed Becker as deputy chairman in March. Boyle is based in Australia and has been a nonexecutive director of QBE since September 2006. He has 40 years of experience in the insurance industry in Australia, New Zealand and the U.K.
Expressing disappointment with the performance of QBE’s North American business, referring to an expected $250 million loss for 2013 that was also announced on Monday, Hutchinson said she is confident that management changes that have been made will return the North American business to profitability.
“Over the last 18 months I have been pleased to have been able to lead substantial board and management renewal at QBE. In addition to the appointment of John Neal as CEO, we have also been able to recruit three highly experienced new nonexecutive directors—John Graf, Margaret Leung and Marty Becker,” she said in a statement.
“It is clear that the increased in-market focus that Marty will bring, together with his expertise in property and casualty insurance, will assist in delivering on the potential of our insurance and reinsurance businesses, and especially in North America,” she said.
Becker said he has been impressed with the progress being made to improve the underlying profitability of the business since joining the board in August. “While there is work to be done, QBE’s North American operations also have a sound foundation for future success,” he said.
Prior to his involvement with QBE, Becker served as president and CEO of Alterra Capital Holdings Ltd, a global specialty insurer and reinsurer with assets of approximately $11 billion, prior to Alterra’s sale which was announced in 2012.
His more than 30 years of insurance experience began in the 1980s when he was president of a regional insurance broker in the United States. He later served as chairman and CEO of Orion Capital from 1996 until its sale in 1999 to Royal & SunAlliance, where he then served as vice chairman and a director of Royal & SunAlliance USA until 2000.
From 2002 to 2005, he led the restructuring and wind-down of Trenwick Group Ltd, a Bermuda insurance company.
From 2001 to 2004, Becker was nonexecutive chairman of Hales & Co., a boutique insurance industry investment bank and private equity investor.
In addition to his work in the insurance industry, Becker is chairman and general partner of West Virginia Media Holdings, a U.S. media company that he co-founded in 2001. WVMH has eight television stations and a newspaper that reach 90 percent of West Virginia’s population.
He has Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degrees from West Virginia University, is a certified public accountant, and is an admitted attorney in West Virginia.