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SCOR to announce Kessler successor next year: reports

23rd November 2020 - Author: Matt Sheehan

Reports from French media sources suggest that reinsurance giant SCOR could be set to announce a successor to CEO Denis Kessler at its next general meeting in 2021.

dennis-kessler-scorL’Argus de l’Assurance reports that SCOR had originally been due to reveal Kessler’s replacement at the Rendez-Vous de Septembre in Monte Carlo this year, which was cancelled due to the pandemic.

According to sources at the publication, the recruitment process for a new a CEO is already in its advanced stages, with several candidates thought to be in the running.

Possible successors include former PartnerRe CEO Emmanuel Clarke, L’Argus de l’Assurance said, as well as Frédéric de Courtois, general manager of the Generali group, and Benoît Ribadeau-Dumas, the former chief of staff of French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

Sources say that SCOR has commissioned Spencer Stuart to lead the recruitment process, who was previously hired by French Insurance Federation (FFA) to identify presidential candidates to replace Bernard Spitz.

But a successor could also come from within the company, with Laurent Rousseau reportedly under consideration. Rousseau currently serves as Managing Director of SCOR Global P&C and as a member of the reinsurer’s executive committee.

Kessler has come under pressure from investors to step down from his role as Chairman, following SCOR’s rejection of a €8.2 billion takeover proposal from Covéa.

Critics argue that separating the functions of Chairman and CEO is “widely accepted as better practice” in the industry and “eliminates the conflict of interest” that occurs when a CEO is responsible for self-oversight.

Investors have also expressed concern that SCOR has not yet appointed a deputy CEO or publicly announced a succession plan for Kessler, who is 68 years old and has occupied the CEO and Chairman roles for 18 years.

SCOR’s company statute requires the Chairman and the CEO to step down at the AGM following their 70th birthday.

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