Léger was most recently the chief underwriting officer of Swiss Re and is tasked with practising ‘strict risk management’

SCOR has announced that Thierry Léger will take up the post of CEO of SCOR with effect from 1 May 2023.

He was most recently the chief underwriting officer of Swiss Re.

Laurent Rousseau, who succeeded Denis Kessler as CEO on June 30, 2021, has resigned from his position as CEO and from his position on the Board. He is leaving the Group to pursue other professional opportunities.

Kessler remarks on ‘difficult period’

Kessler, chairman of SCOR, commented: Having held key positions at a major global reinsurance company, [Léger] has all the skills required to lead the SCOR group and forge a new strategic vision for the company, while pursuing an underwriting policy based entirely on technical profitability. 

”By giving high priority to capital allocation and returns, and by practicing very strict risk management, Thierry Léger will restore the Group’s profitability and maintain its high level of solvency, to the benefit of all stakeholders: clients, shareholders and employees. SCOR is embarking on a new chapter in its history. 

”On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank Laurent Rousseau for the contribution he has made to the Group during a particularly difficult period.”

The move follows rating downgrades from Standard & Poor’s and Fitch in 2022. S&P said the reinsurer was a “negative outlier relative to close peers” with financial results “below expectations”

SCOR reported a net loss of €509m in the first nine months of 2022. In July, the reinsurer revealed it was pulling back from agriculture after taking a €193m hit from droughts in Brazil

SCOR revealed a net loss of €239m for the first half of 2022, of which €159m was incurred in the second quarter. Its combined ratio was 107.7%.

Léger takes upbeat tone on opportunities ahead

Léger has 25 years of experience in the reinsurance sector, holding key positions. His expertise covers life reinsurance, P&C reinsurance and alternative reinsurance. 

The Board of Directors will propose that Thierry Léger join the Board at the 2023 General Meeting.

Léger will be responsible for drawing up a new attractive and ambitious strategic plan for SCOR, and will outline the orientations and main themes of this plan at the 2023 General Meeting. His mission will be to help SCOR further consolidate its position as a leading global reinsurer.

Léger said he plans to actively pursue the company’s growth, hinting there would also be a focused on portfolio diversification. ”The reinsurance sector offers many opportunities, both on the liability side with the increased demand for cover and the improvement of terms and conditions, and on the asset side with the rise in interest rates.

“I am convinced that SCOR is well placed to take full advantage of this favorable environment. I know that I can count on highly skilled and experienced teams, and on excellent client relations. Let’s all make this journey together. I will focus all my energy on giving fresh impetus to SCOR.”

Swiss Re thanks Léger

Announcing the imminent departure of Léger in their own statement, Swiss Re thanks Thierry Léger for his contributions to the company, most recently as CUO.

The group also announced that chief executive officer Christian Mumenthaler would be taking over his responsibilities for the interim, until a replacement is found.

Mumenthaler said: “Over the past 25 years with Swiss Re, Thierry made great contributions to many parts of our business, from Reinsurance to former Life Capital Business Unit, to Group Underwriting.

”Since his appointment as Group CUO in 2020, he has successfully evolved our underwriting capabilities through utilising cutting-edge research, access to more and better data and analytics.

”On behalf of the entire Group Executive Committee, I would like to thank Thierry for his dedication and commitment to Swiss Re and wish him all the success for the future.”

François de Varenne becomes interim SCOR CEO

François de Varenne, executive committee member in charge of Investments, Technology, Transformation and Group Corporate Finance, has been appointed Interim CEO of SCOR with immediate effect until Thierry Léger takes up his post.

The Board of Directors has asked its chairman Denis Kessler to lend his support to François de Varenne and then Thierry Léger, to ensure the smooth running of this change in executive management.

Fabrice Brégier, chairman of the Nomination Committee, comments: In line with its mandate, and in strict compliance with the principles of corporate governance, the Nomination Committee sought to pinpoint the qualities needed to lead a global reinsurance company in an increasingly complex environment. The profile it drew up was of a leader capable of managing a risk universe that is changing rapidly, in both life and P&C (re)insurance. 

”Thierry Léger fits this profile perfectly, which is what led the committee to propose his appointment as CEO to the Board. The committee also recommended that the interim period be overseen by François de Varenne, building on his 17 years of experience in various roles at SCOR.”