Denis Kessler, president of the reinsurer Scor, changes his general manager once again


The insurance world does not have a reputation for liking surprises, but Scor, the French reinsurance specialist (insurance for insurance companies), seems to like it: it announced on Thursday 26 January in the evening the departure of its managing director, Laurent Rousseau, in office for barely more than eighteen months. His replacement has already been chosen: Thierry Léger, a 56-year-old Franco-Swiss, until now director of underwriting for his competitor Swiss Re, will take up his post on May 1, the interim being provided by François de Varenne, the one of the members of the executive committee.

The arrival of Laurent Rousseau in June 2021 had already taken observers by surprise: he had been appointed when the post had been promised for six months to Benoît Ribadeau-Dumas, former chief of staff of Edouard Philippe at Matignon, supposed to succeed to Denis Kessler, CEO since 2002 but who was then preparing to split the general management of the presidency. A split that he had chosen to advance for personal reasons.

Thierry Leger is “a confirmed, experienced reinsurer, perfectly mastering both life reinsurance and non-life reinsurance”, Mr. Kessler said in a statement. The roadmap for the new CEO is in any case already written: it is up to him to develop a new “engaging and ambitious” strategic plan that he will have to present at the next general meeting in May.

Settle the accounts

“His mission will be to enable Scor to consolidate its place in the very first circle of global reinsurers”adds the group in a press release.

Clearly, it will be up to Thierry Léger to straighten out the accounts. Car Scor recorded 509 million euros in losses in the first nine months of 2022 and its financial strength rating was lowered a few weeks apart by S&P and then by Fitch, two of the main financial rating agencies, one and the other justifying this decision by disappointing profitability.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Laurent Rousseau: “The world of (re)insurance must go further and invest in prevention”

Scor acknowledged in November having “went through a difficult period, marked by a historic pandemic, a succession of major natural disasters and very low interest rate levels”. A situation that had led him to postpone the presentation of his new three-year strategic plan, in favor of a one-year action plan.

The replacement of Laurent Rousseau by Thierry Léger comes less than two weeks before the presentation of the results of the annual campaign to renew reinsurance treaties, the annual contracts between insurers and reinsurers. A campaign which, according to several players in the sector, took place in a generally favorable context for reinsurers, with the key to premium increases often exceeding 20%.

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