The Travelers Companies’ CEO Alan Schnitzer has added the title of “chairman” to his nameplate, ending a management structure put in place after the company’s legendary leader, Jay Fishman, died of Lou Gherig’s disease in August 2016.
Travelers said its board of directors unanimously elected Schnitzer to become its next chairman. John Dasburg, the previous chairman, will now resume his previous role of independent lead director, a position he held before Fishman died.
Fishman was executive chairman at Travelers at the time of his death. Because of his illness, Fishman stepped down from his role as CEO in late 2015, after which Schnitzer became CEO.
Why the change? Dasburg said the Travelers board of directors believes combining the roles of chairman and CEO for one executive serves the company and its shareholders best in the face of “unprecedented change for the insurance industry.”
Dasburg noted in prepared remarks that Travelers under Schnitzer’s leadership has “strengthened its competitive advantages and meaningfully advanced its strategic digital and innovation agendas while continuing to deliver industry-leading financial results.”
Schnitzer, meanwhile, thanked Dasburg for stepping in as chairman after Fishman’s death.
Travelers booked $595 million in 2017 second quarter income, about 10 percent lower than the same period a year ago, due mostly to weather-related losses and higher personal body injury liability. The combined ratio came in at a healthy 96.7, but that was an increase from 93.1 in the 2016 second quarter.