Greco in surprise early exit from Generali

Italian insurer Generali has terminated its contract with chief executive Mario Greco, after he announced he was leaving the company to become chief executive of rival insurer Zurich.

Greco (pictured) said in January that he would stay at Generali until May, at which point he would move to Zurich. But Generali chair Gabriele Galateri di Genola said this week that Greco’s contract would be terminated immediately, on “mutually agreed” terms.

Generali has yet to appoint a new permanent CEO. In the meantime, the role will be filled by Galateri di Genola, the company said.

The announcement came on the eve of disappointing end-of-year results for Zurich, which saw operating profits fall to US$2.9bn, down 37% from the same 12 months in 2014. Net income after tax, which is the figure relevant to shareholders, fell even further, down 53% on the 2014 figure, to $1.8bn.

Zurich chairman and interim CEO Tom de Swaan called the results “disappointing”, adding: “Given the challenges within General Insurance, it is unlikely that the Group will achieve its target of a business operating profit after tax return on equity of 12-14% in 2016.”

De Swaan said the company would not be increasing dividend payments, as it had previously hinted it might.

Greco will take over the role of chief executive from de Swaan on 7 March.

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