RSA New CEO Hester Loses Second Senior Manager Amid Revamp

Apr 16, 2014 8:09 am ET

(Updates to include detail on Brown’s responsibilities, share price and further hiring, starting in second paragraph.)

April 16 (Bloomberg) -- RSA Insurance Group Plc lost its second senior manager since Chief Executive Officer Stephen Hester was brought in to revamp the British insurer.

Adrian Brown, a 25-year RSA veteran who ran the U.K. and Western European business since 2008 and stepped in to oversee the Irish unit during a probe, is leaving to become executive chairman of underwriting and distribution at U.S. broker Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., RSA said in a statement today.

“It provides the opportunity to appoint new leadership in this key part of our business,” Hester said in the statement. “We have an ambitious business plan which now needs to be driven over a time horizon that Adrian could not reasonably commit to. We look forward to a strong relationship continuing at his new employer.”

Hester, the former CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, was hired in the wake of three profit warnings in the fourth quarter and a capital shortfall in Ireland. Since joining in February, he has overseen a $1.3 billion rights issue, scrapped the dividend and announced plans to sell assets as part of a business review to restore the balance sheet.

RSA fell 0.6 percent to 92.10 pence at 1 p.m. in London trading, paring its gain this year to 14 percent. The stock slumped 27 percent last year, erasing more than 1.3 billion pounds ($2.2 billion) in market value.

Previous Appointments

Brown has resigned from RSA’s board and will leave his executive role once a successor is named. The CEO of RSA’s Scandinavian unit, Mike Holliday-Williams, resigned earlier in the year to join Direct Line Group Plc.

Yesterday, Hester named RSA’s CEO of emerging markets, Paul Whittaker, as group chief operating officer, where he will oversee asset sales. RSA is planning to sell units in central and eastern Europe, three people familiar with the matter said in January, as it focuses on markets including the British Isles, Scandinavia, Latin America and Canada.

RSA last month hired Ken Norgrove from Zurich Insurance Group AG to run its Irish unit, replacing Philip Smith, who resigned last year in the wake of the accounting scandal. Hester has also appointed Marsh France’s Corinne Cipiere as managing director of RSA’s French unit.