Zurich accelerates roll-out of digital offering, announces key leadership appointments

Zurich Insurance Group is ramping up the transformation of its global business to meet the rapidly changing needs of consumers, launching a new unit to expand digital services worldwide and create a more intimate connection with its customers and partners.

The Global Business Platforms unit will be headed by current APAC CEO Jack Howell as of Jan. 1, 2021. Over the last four years, Mr. Howell has expanded and transformed the business in APAC and advanced Group innovation by focusing on customer needs. He has demonstrated vision and the ability to translate this into innovative services.

Ericson Chan will spearhead the planning, development and operation of the technology functions and online ecosystems as the newly appointed Group Chief Information and Digital Officer. Mr. Chan is currently CEO of Ping An Technology.

Group CEO Mario Greco said: “This is a groundbreaking step in reaching our goal of becoming our customers’ preferred insurer. As lifestyles change globally, consumers seek personalized, convenient and transparent interactions. Zurich continues to launch innovative offerings to meet the demands of our customers and partners for a fully digital and streamlined experience.”

“Beyond the younger generations who have long valued the convenience of online services, demand has broadened significantly in recent months throughout our customer base. Jack has significant experience in insurance and is skilled at launching innovative products and services, and Ericson brings a passion for fintech and using emerging technology to deliver what people want. This is the perfect combination to bring extra momentum to our customer-led strategy.”

Mr. Howell has a proven record of leading people, driving change and transforming businesses. Since joining Zurich in September 2016, he has successfully grown our presence in APAC, establishing sustainable positions in key markets.

During his four years as CEO of Ping An Technology, Mr. Chan helped to transform the Ping An Group’s business model and online ecosystems through digital services including a range of financial products and platforms.

Between 1998 and 2016, Mr. Chan held several technology leadership roles at Standard Chartered Bank in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore. Achievements include the development of a disruptive mobile banking platform and innovative services in 22 countries. He also has six years of healthtech experience gained in the U.S.

Mr. Chan joins Zurich on Oct. 1, 2020, as a member of the Group Executive Committee. His remit will also include responsibility for all of Zurich’s IT operations and services.

Acceleration of cultural transformation

To support the execution of a successful Group-wide transformation, Zurich is appointing Kathleen Savio, currently CEO North America, to the newly created role of Group Chief Transformation Officer, effective Jan. 1, 2021.

After successfully repositioning the business in North America and increasing its strength and resilience, Ms. Savio will be responsible for accelerating business organization and governance, further developing the cultural transformation across Zurich and ensuring the Group effectively delivers on its commitments. This includes the evolution towards a sustainable, purpose-driven company.

New regional leaders

Following these appointments, Zurich today is also announcing changes in its regional leadership. New CEOs have been appointed in Latin America (LatAm) effective Oct. 1, 2020, and in the North America and APAC regions, effective Jan. 1, 2021.

Kristof Terryn will succeed Ms. Savio as CEO North America. He joined the Group in 2004 and became Group Chief Operating Officer (COO) in 2016 following roles including head of Global Life and General Insurance. As COO, Mr. Terryn streamlined the Group’s operations by reducing complexity and risk, enhanced network stability and quality, facilitated the integration of new technologies and drove an industry-leading simplification program. Prior to joining Zurich, Mr. Terryn was based in the U.S. for eight years.

Tulsi Naidu will take over as CEO APAC. She has been Zurich’s CEO in the UK since 2016. As UK CEO, Ms. Naidu has reshaped and simplified the business, improved technical and digital capabilities and strengthened the team, resulting in Zurich’s UK business returning to strong growth with improved profitability and high customer, distributor and employee satisfaction.

Laurence Maurice joins Zurich as CEO LatAm. Ms. Maurice has extensive experience in the industry, including seven years as Chief Financial Officer of a leading European insurer’s Brazilian and South American operations and most recently as the company’s CEO Spain and Southern Europe.

Ms. Maurice succeeds Claudia Dill, who for personal reasons has decided to step down from the role and will be leaving the company as of today.

Diversity of experience and backgrounds

“On behalf of all my colleagues at Zurich,” Mario Greco said, “I would like to thank Claudia for her valuable contribution to Zurich’s success over the past years. I am delighted to welcome Ericson, Laurence and Tulsi to the Executive Committee. Their diversity of backgrounds and cultures further strengthens our ability to lead the transformation of insurance.”

Following the appointments announced today, the Zurich Group Executive Committee as of Jan. 1, 2021, will comprise:

  • Chief Executive Officer: Mario Greco
  • Chief Investment Officer: Urban Angehrn
  • Chief Information and Digital Officer: Ericson Chan
  • CEO Farmers Group: Jeff Dailey
  • Chief Risk Officer: Peter Giger
  • CEO Global Business Platforms: Jack Howell
  • CEO EMEA & Bank Distribution: Alison Martin
  • CEO LatAm: Laurence Maurice
  • CEO APAC: Tulsi Naidu
  • Chief Financial Officer: George Quinn
  • CEO Commercial Insurance: James Shea
  • CEO North America: Kristof Terryn

The new appointments to the Executive Committee are subject to regulatory approval.

New Group General Counsel

In addition, Zurich has appointed Katja Roth Pellanda as new Group General Counsel to lead the legal team, effective Oct. 1, 2020. Ms. Roth Pellanda joined Zurich from Novartis as Deputy Group General Counsel in April.

She succeeds Yannick Hausmann, who after 12 years in the role has decided to transition to new professional activities. He has accepted to remain engaged with the company as a Senior Advisor to the Group CEO, providing his broad experience on regulatory and governance issues. Mr. Hausmann will maintain his current external engagements and key board memberships of companies in the Zurich Group. The company wishes him great success.