Zurich Insurance Seeks to Replace CEO Senn, Bilanz Reports

Zurich Insurance Group AG is seeking to replace Chief Executive Officer Martin Senn after third-quarter losses forced it to abandon its bid for Britain’s RSA Insurance Group Plc, according to a Swiss business magazine.

Switzerland’s biggest insurer has hired the London firm MWM Consulting to conduct the search, Swiss business magazine Bilanz reported Thursday on its website, without saying where it got the information. Zurich Insurance declines to discuss the report, said Riccardo Moretto, a spokesman.

Zurich abandoned its proposed bid for RSA Insurance in September after underestimating North American auto and construction liabilities. Profit fell 79 percent in the three months through September to $207 million from a year earlier as the company set aside $367 million to cover the shortfall in reserves. It also booked $275 million in losses from the mid-August explosions in the Chinese city of Tianjin.

Senn, who took over as CEO in 2010, has been under pressure to increase profit. Shares are down 14 percent this year, compared with 15 percent increase in the Stoxx Europe 600 Insurance Index. The shares climbed as much as 0.8 percent after the report and were trading 0.4 percent higher at 268.30 francs at 12:22 p.m. in Zurich.

The company detailed an overhaul of its non-life insurance unit last week that includes about 200 job cuts and an exit from part of the U.S. transportation business. Positions will be eliminated in Switzerland, the U.S., Ireland and the U.K., said Kristof Terryn, who was named head of general insurance and global life in September, replacing Mike Kerner.

Senn joined Zurich as chief investment officer in 2006. In 2011, he oversaw the purchase of a 51 percent stake in Banco Santander SA’s insurance division in 2011 for $1.67 billion.

Credit Suisse Group AG used MWM Consulting to recruit Tidjane Thiam for its top job earlier this year, Bilanz said. The recruitment firm could not immediately be reached for comment.

(An earlier version of this story was corrected to include the company’s full legal name)

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