Axis Says Gressier Will Step Down as Chief Operating Officer

Jun 23, 2014 1:10 pm ET

(Updates with terms of resignation in fifth paragraph.)

June 23 (Bloomberg) -- Axis Capital Holdings Ltd. said Jack Gressier stepped down, just months after the Bermuda-based insurer and reinsurer named him chief operating officer.

Gressier, 46, won’t be replaced and his responsibilities already have been distributed among three other executives, Axis said today in a statement. He’d been with the firm for about 12 years, said Axis, which cited Gressier’s desire to spend time with his family.

Chief Executive Officer Albert Benchimol named Gressier COO in March to replace Dennis Reding, who was retiring. Gressier previously ran an insurance unit at the company. Axis reported operating income of $633 million in 2013, up 50 percent from the previous year.

“Jack has been a big part of our success as a company from our early years,” Benchimol said in the statement. “Looking forward, we have seasoned executives at the helm.”

Gressier was required to give 12 months notice of a voluntary resignation, said a person familiar with his departure. Gressier will be on so-called garden leave for the next year, said the person, who asked for anonymity because personnel matters are confidential. Details on the change will come in a regulatory filing in a few days, the person said.

Garden leave refers to workers who are kept on payroll and ordered to stay home for a specified period after giving notice to reduce the chances they’ll take information or clients to their new employer. The term derives from the idea that the employees will have little to do except tend their gardens.

Assuming Duties

Michael Herley, a spokesman for Axis at Kekst & Co., said Gressier wasn’t available for an interview. Gressier didn’t respond to a message sent to his LinkedIn Corp. profile.

Gressier’s duties are being assumed by Peter Wilson, CEO of Axis Insurance; Christopher DiSipio, Axis Accident & Health chief; and Richard Strachan, chief operations officer.

Axis declined 7 cents to $45.09 at 12:45 p.m. in New York. The stock slipped 5.1 percent this year through last week.