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RSA Poaches Zurich Executive to Fix Irish Unit

RSA Insurance Group Plc named Ken Norgrove as chief executive officer of its Irish unit as the company seeks to recover from a scandal in Ireland that led to a $1.3 billion rights issue.

Norgrove has been CEO of Zurich General Insurance Ireland since April 2011 and previously worked for RSA from 1986 to 2010, the London-based company said in an e-mailed statement today. Norgrove replaces Philip Smith, who resigned in November, saying he was made a “fall guy” amid an investigation into accounting practices. He starts June 1.

“I am extremely pleased to welcome back Ken,” Adrian Brown, CEO of RSA U.K. and western Europe, said in the statement. “He has an extensive knowledge of the Irish market, plus a strong track record of delivering results.”

RSA also fired the Irish unit’s chief financial officer, Rory O’Connor, and Claims Director Peter Burke in January after a probe found “inappropriate collaboration” among managers and inaccurate financial reporting. Group CEO Simon Lee also resigned after issuing three profit warnings in the fourth quarter.

New Group CEO Stephen Hester, who referred to the Irish scandal as an “ugly banana skin,” announced the stock sale last week to help bolster the balance sheet and restore confidence with investors and ratings companies.

The shares have gained about 6 percent this year after more than 1 billion pounds ($1.7 billion) was wiped off its market value in 2013.

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