Generali’s Greco to be Zurich CEO

Mario Greco, the Italian executive who is widely credited with helping to boost the fortunes of  Trieste-based Assicurazioni Generali as its chief executive, is to move to head up Generali’s Swiss rival, Zurich.

At Zurich, Greco, pictured, will become CEO, succeeding Tom de Swaan, who has held the role on an interim basis since Martin Senn stepped down in December 2015, the company reported on Wednesday.

Greco will move to Zurich after his term at Generali expires in April, ending three years at that company.

De Swaan, who continues as Zurich board chairman, said in a statement announcing Greco’s appointment that the Italian brought to the company “the rare combination of entrepreneurial spirit, deep industry knowledge and proven CEO experience”, qualities he said stood out when he and the rest of Zurich’s top management were looking for the company’s “next leader”.

Zurich has had a downbeat few months recently. In September, for example, it pulled out of a proposed £5.6bn acquisition of the UK insurance group RSA; as reported, it has also been selling off non-core parts of its business, such as the “Private Banking Solutions” business of its Luxembourg-based Zurich Eurolife business, to focus on those areas in which it is strongest and most competitive relative to its competition.

Last week, in a Q4 update, Zurich said expected its aggregate losses in the last three months of 2015  would total around US$275m, as a result of payouts “due to natural catastrophe claims”. It went on to say, though, that it expected to see its finances improve over the course of 2016, as recent steps taken to reduce its exposure to large losses and other measures began to take effect.

Greco has worked for Zurich previously, as head of its international business, for five years ending in 2012.

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