Former Argo Chief Executive Mark Watson has agreed a $450,000 settlement with The Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) after the specialty insurer was found to have bankrolled undisclosed executive perks and personal benefits that totalled an estimated cost of $5.3 million.
The San Antonio Express News has reported that the SEC accepted a settlement offer made by Watson in an effort to resolve the matter.
Argo was subpoenaed by the SEC back in October 2019 over compensation practices for its executives, shortly after which Watson announced his retirement.
This latest development follows a long and drawn out saga initiated by its fourth-largest shareholder Voce Capital Management.
The public exchange culminated in the re/insurer announcing plans to introduce a process of phased declassification of the Argo Board of Directors, after which the entire board will stand for election annually.
“Following Argo’s settlement with the SEC, Mark has resolved the matter and looks forward to building his next business in the years to come,” a spokesman for Watson told The Express.
The Express also notes how, under its new leadership, Argo has sold the company aircraft and listed certain corporate real estate for sale.
Those changes were expected to reduce non-underwriting expenses by $20 million, or 10%.