Zurich Insurance Group announced last week that the board of directors will propose the election of Michel M. Liès as Chair at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) to be held April 4, 2018. Upon his election, he would succeed Tom de Swaan, who has been a member of Zurich’s board since 2006 and chairman since 2013.
Liès has been active in global insurance and reinsurance for almost 40 years, culminating in four years as Group CEO of Swiss Re, a position he held until June 2016 when he retired. His career has spanned both the life and non-life segments and has included significant periods with responsibility for growing businesses across Europe and in South America.
He joined Swiss Re in 1978, initially working in the life market in Latin America before moving to Europe in 1983, and went on to hold a number of senior positions.
In 1994, he moved into the non-life sector, with responsibility for southern Europe and Latin America. He was appointed head of Swiss Re’s Europe division of the Property & Casualty Business Group in 2000. In 2005, he assumed the position of head Client Markets and was appointed member of the Group Executive Committee.
From October 2010 until his appointment as group chief executive officer in February 2012, Liès served as Swiss Re’s chairman of Global Partnerships, which works with governments, international development bodies and NGOs to identify ways to jointly mitigate and address global risks and increase resilience.
He served as Swiss Re’s group CEO until his retirement in 2016.
Liès has held a number of external board appointments, including serving as the chairman of the Global Reinsurance Forum, a board member of the Geneva Association, a member of Insurance Europe’s Reinsurance Advisory Board, a member of the board of directors of the Swiss American Chamber of Commerce, a voting member of the Conference Board and a board member of the Society for the Promotion of the Institute of Insurance Economics at St. Gallen University.
He holds a master’s degree in Mathematics from the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and has completed the Stanford Executive Program and the Senior Executive Program at Harvard.
Zurich’s de Swaan, who is chairman of the board and chair of the Governance, Nominations & Corporate Responsibility committee, noted that the selection of Liès comes after a rigorous process, with high-quality candidates from across the business spectrum. Liès “brings a wealth of skill and insight gained from a very successful career in our sector, which, combined with his experience at the helm of an important Swiss company, make him the ideal next chairman,” de Swaan said. “In the fast-changing environment in which we operate, his intellect, deep grounding in insurance and ability to deliver results will reinforce both the board and the business.”
For his part, Liès said he had held Zurich in high regard for many years. “I have worked extensively with insurance companies and understand the challenging and exciting landscape we are now in,” Liès added. “I am also equally aware of Zurich’s strengths and the opportunities that lie ahead for it and look forward to contributing to it achieving its goals and realizing its full potential as a leader in the sector.”
Source: Zurich Insurance