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Baloise Appoints De Meulder as CEO in Germany to Cut Costs

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Dec. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Baloise Holding AG, Switzerland’s third-biggest insurer, said Jan De Meulder will oversee a cost-cutting program when he takes over as chief executive officer of its German business next month.

De Meulder, 57, will replace Frank Grund, who is pursuing new “professional opportunities” after nine years as head of Basler Versicherungen, the Basel-based insurer said today in a statement. While De Meulder will remain on the corporate executive committee, Baloise CEO Martin Strobel will take on his role as head of the corporate division international.

“We are now in a position to take the next step towards optimizing the business in our key German market,” Strobel said in the statement. “Basler Versicherungen in Germany will reduce costs and increase levels of efficiency.”

The cost-cutting program at the insurer’s second-biggest unit comes as Baloise’s merged German businesses start operating under the Basler Versicherungen brand from Dec. 21. The company will announce the size of the cost cuts, which will include some jobs losses, at the end of March, said Strobel.

“Germany is part of our core business and we will focus on profitable growth, particularly in the marine business, technical insurance, and life insurance selling unit-linked products,” Strobel said today in an interview.

Strobel will also take over from De Meulder as chairman of Baloise’s supervisory board.

To contact the reporter on this story: Carolyn Bandel in Zurich at cbandel@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net

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