Martin Senn, the chief executive officer of Zurich Insurance Group, is stepping down after six years in the position.

Martin Senn
Martin Senn

According to a company statement, Senn and Zurich’s board of directors have mutually agreed on the action. Senn will leave the company at the end of the year after a decade of service with the global insurer.

Tom de Swaan, a member of the board of Directors since 2006, has been appointed interim CEO. De Swaan took over as chairman in September 2013 after then chairman Josef Ackermann stepped down in the wake of the suicide of the company’s former chief financial officer.

Senn’s departure was rumored last month after the company reported 79 percent drops in both third-quarter operating profit and net income for the group and the management team announced steps being taken to repair the damage largely caused by the General Insurance business.

The need to focus on repairing the General Insurance business prompted Zurich to end its pursuit of RSA in last September. A proposed deal for RSA had been announced back in July.

With De Swaan taking on the CEO role until Senn’s successor is named, Vice Chair Fred Kindle, will take on certain additional responsibilities to ensure continued good governance, Zurich said.

The company said that the process to appoint Senn’s successor is already underway.

In a media statement, Senn simply said that he decided to make way for new leadership after “ten very intense years with Zurich.” He highlighted the insurer’s reputation and high level of capitalization.

“There have been some setbacks in recent months, but I am convinced that we have put in place the right measures for Zurich to reach its targets. I will remain closely tied to the company and am proud of what we have achieved together over the years,” he added.

Tom de Swaan
Tom de Swaan

De Swaan noted that Senn initially served as Zurich’s chief investment officer and offered that the board of directors “owes a massive thanks” to Senn for successfully guiding Zurich through a challenging environment, while “showing great foresight and tireless personal commitment.”

De Swaan described Senn’s integrity as well, adding that Senn is “someone with a very rare sense of how to balance the interests of different stakeholder groups.”

“Over the past two years, he has set in motion a transformation that will make our company more customer-centric, more efficient and more successful,” de Swaan said of Senn.

Zurich said that Senn’s departure will have no impact on Zurich’s strategic focus or its financial targets, including its goal of achieving after tax business operating profits of at least 12-14 percent.

While serving as CEO, de Swaan will hold his mandates with other listed companies in abeyance, Zurich said.

Topics Leadership