Swiss Re's CFO to step down in March, to be replaced by strategy chief

Swiss Re's CFO to step down in March, to be replaced by strategy chief
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By Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss Re Chief Financial Officer David Cole will step down next March and will be replaced by the group's head of strategy, John Dacey, the world's second-largest reinsurer said on Friday.

Cole is departing after four years in the job, and a total seven years with the company, to pursue a non-executive career, Swiss Re said.

"After seven years with Swiss Re, David Cole will step down as group chief financial officer on 31 March 2018 to pursue a non-executive career while remaining a board member of Swiss Re subsidiary companies," the Zurich-based group said in a statement.

Dacey, now the group chief strategy officer, starts in his new role on April 1.

Dacey, a U.S. national, joined Swiss Re in 2012 from French insurer AXA, where he was regional head of Asia-Pacific. He had previously held a number of executive positions at Swiss insurer Winterthur before it was purchased and merged into AXA in 2007.

"John Dacey, who has a very strong track record both within and outside Swiss Re, is the ideal candidate to pick up on the momentum created by David Cole and lead our finance division forward," Chairman Walter Kielholz said in the statement.

"He has been instrumental in shaping Swiss Re's strategic framework and launching the Swiss Re Institute – both of which strongly position Swiss Re as the leading risk knowledge company."

The reinsurance industry has faced several very tough years, feeling the squeeze from both low interest rates putting a damper on investment returns and falling industry prices slimming down insurance business margins.

Cole's elevation to the CFO role in early 2014 came amid industry pricing pressures and increased competition from pension funds and other specialised investors moving into reinsurance.

A Dutch and American citizen, Cole joined Swiss Re in 2010 from ABN AMRO Holding, where he had served in several positions including chief financial officer and chief risk officer.

Swiss Re also said on Friday it would ‍propose the appointment of three new board members - Karen Gavan, Eileen Rominger and Larry Zimpleman - at its annual general meeting on April 20.

(Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by John Miller, Greg Mahlich)

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