Scor chair Denis Kessler dies, aged 71

Denis Kessler, one of the influential figures within the world reinsurance trade over the previous 20 years, has died on the age of 71.

French reinsurer Scor, the place Kessler had spent twenty years as chair, paid tribute to him on Friday, saying he had “devoted his total life to enterprise”.

He was “a person of tradition”, it stated, in addition to “an economist and an iconic determine of the insurance coverage and reinsurance world, and extra extensively of the French enterprise world”.

Lloyd’s of London chief government John Neal advised the Monetary Instances that the trade “wants characters and voices that arise for the very best now we have to supply and Denis will probably be perpetually missed”.

“We’re all ‘doffing our berets’ and fondly remembering our time with him,” Neal stated.

Kessler chaired the French Federation of Insurance coverage Firms throughout two intervals within the Nineteen Nineties and thru to the 2000s, and was president of the group behind the Rendez-Vous de Septembre, the pre-eminent annual reinsurance occasion in Monte Carlo.

Kessler at a gathering of the French enterprise confederation Medef for the compensation of the unemployed © Antoine Serra/Sygma/Getty Photos

He had been a board member of a number of main corporations, together with a two-decade stint at banking group BNP Paribas, and held a seat on the board at asset supervisor Invesco since 2002. He was additionally a member of France’s Financial, Social and Environmental Council from 1993 to 2010.

Kessler was extensively lauded within the trade for the turnround of Scor, taking it from the snapping point in 2002 to one in all Europe’s largest reinsurers — teams that present cowl to major insurers.

“Individuals will shake my hand once more now,” Kessler joked a few years later, after returning it to revenue and restoring its dividend.

However the later a part of his tenure was marked by a bitter authorized battle with Covéa, after the French mutual group launched a hostile takeover bid in 2018.

Covéa’s method spiralled right into a drawn-out battle, involving accusations being thrown on either side by courts and the press, that was solely settled in 2021.

In the identical 12 months Kessler gave up the chief government position after a name from France’s monetary regulator to separate the 2 prime roles on the group, amid a high-profile governance battle with activist investor CIAM.

Kessler oversaw one final reshuffle earlier this 12 months, when his successor as CEO Laurent Rousseau resigned from the board after inflation and pure catastrophe-related claims soured efficiency and hit the share worth.

Thierry Léger, who changed Rousseau within the prime job, paid tribute to Kessler, saying his “ardour for reinsurance was unparalleled, and his ambition to make Scor an trade chief by no means left him. It has been the driving power behind all his actions on the head of the group over the previous 21 years.”

Scor stated its vice-chair, Augustin de Romanet, would chair the board till a brand new chair was appointed.

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