“The management team, the strategy, the board, all of that’s really familiar,” Schnitzer, currently CEO of Travelers’ Business and International Insurance arm, said during the company’s 2015 third quarter earnings call on Oct. 20. “That gives me a great opportunity to be thoughtful and very deliberate and to take my time with the rest of the team as we think about what’s next.”
Schnitzer offered his thoughts in response to a question about what his priorities will be as CEO and also where does he see areas in which he can improve The Travelers Companies as an organization. He said that pursuing those steps will be done “in due course.”
Outgoing CEO Jay Fishman announced in August that he would give up his long-time role as CEO due to a neurodegenerative condition that appears to be a form of ALS. The announcement also noted Schnitzer would replace him, though Fishman will remain after the transition as executive chairman. Schnitzer said this interim period has given him a chance “over the last couple of months to spend time with the leadership team, to be on the road with our field organizations and to spend time with distribution” in order to gather perspective and ideas.
On Oct. 20, Travelers announced net income of $928 million for the third quarter (an increase), an improved combined ratio of 86.9 and record net written premiums of $6.2 billion. The positive results gave the Travelers earnings call the feeling of a valedictory lap for Fishman, who fielded many congratulatory comments from analysts during his last Travelers earnings call as CEO.
One – Larry Greenberg from Janney Montgomery Scott – credited Fishman with having “created some phenomenal value” for Travelers shareholders and teaching “a lot of people about the value of prudent capital management.”
Fishman responded by deferring credit to his management team. He also noted, as an aside, that the Oct. 20 call appeared to be his 56th as the head of Travelers.