Denis Kessler, SCOR’s chairman and chief executive officer, is stepping down for personal reasons from his CEO role at the end of June, much earlier than expected. The company is replacing him in a revamped succession plan.
Kessler is giving up his CEO slot at the end of his current term of office during the company’s general meeting, though he will remain as chairman.
The French reinsurer is revamping its previous succession plan, however.
The board of directors of the Paris-based reinsurer previously decided to separate the roles of chairman of the board and CEO but now this will happen one year earlier than originally planned.
Succeeding Kessler as CEO will be Laurent Rousseau, deputy CEO of SCOR Global P&C, chairman of SCOR Europe and member of the group executive committee. Rousseau has held senior positions within the group for the past 11 years and has had 20 years of experience in the re/insurance sector in London and Paris.
SCOR announced previously that Benoît Ribadeau-Dumas would succeed Kessler as CEO in 2022. He joined the company as deputy CEO in January 2021 to prepare for the transition. However, the company is abandoning that original succession plan.
“While recognizing and commending his strong commitment and successful integration during his first few months at SCOR, the board of directors has come to the conclusion that the conditions are not met for Benoît Ribadeau-Dumas, who had not worked in the insurance or reinsurance sector before joining the group, to take up the position of chief executive officer of SCOR in June 2021,” SCOR said in a statement.
The board’s appointment of Kessler as non-executive chairman following the June 30 general meeting “will help to ensure the continuity of the group’s strategy and to perpetuate its values,” the company said.
“For 19 years, I have devoted my life to reinsurance in general, and to SCOR in particular. This is a fascinating and demanding industry, extremely sophisticated and underpinned by science. SCOR has become a global Tier 1 company that is profitable, has a high level of solvency, and is growing continuously,” commented Kessler.
He also thanked Ribadeau-Dumas “for all the effort he has made to integrate into the company and the sector.”
Rousseau, 42, a French citizen, is a graduate of HEC (Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales).
He started his career in 2001 as an equity analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston in London covering European insurers and reinsurers. In 2005, he joined J.P. Morgan in the insurance investment banking team, executing M&A, capital raising and restructuring transactions for European insurers and reinsurers.
He joined SCOR in 2010 as adviser to the chairman and became head of SCOR Global P&C’s Strategy and Business Development in 2012. In July 2015, he became chief underwriting officer of SCOR Global P&C’s treaty business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In April 2018, he was promoted to deputy chief executive officer of SCOR Global P&C and member of the group’s executive committee.
*A version of this story ran previously in our sister publication Insurance Journal.