Stephen Hester, the head of insurer RSA, has replaced the chief executive of the company’s troubled UK business, which was behind a profit warning last September.
The company said on Tuesday that Steve Lewis, who has run the UK division since 2015, would leave RSA. He will be replaced by group chief financial officer Scott Egan.
RSA said in September that problems in its UK motor and marine businesses would lead to an underwriting loss for the third quarter of 2018. Trading in specialist commercial lines of insurance — known as the London Market — was particularly tough.
Results from the UK business had also been weak the previous year.
In November the company said it would exit some unpromising lines of business entirely, dropping about £100m of premiums in areas that were “unlikely to satisfy the Group’s profitability requirements in the foreseeable future.”
Mr Hester said: “I’d like to thank Steve for his service to RSA over the last four years . . . In this period there have been some notable successes, although UK results in 2017 and 2018 have disappointed, particularly due to ‘London Market’ losses in areas now subject to the portfolio exits announced last year.”
Mr Egan joined RSA in 2015, just ten months after Mr Lewis. His replacement as CFO has not yet been appointed.
The latest change at RSA comes five years to the day after Mr Hester joined the company in the wake of an accounting scandal in its Irish business.
He raised £775m in a rights issue, and disposed of non-core businesses. He then set about turning RSA into what he calls a “best in class” insurer, but problems in the UK have held back the group’s progress.
RSA shares, which have lost 16 per cent of their value over the past year, were up just under 1 per cent on Wednesday.
They remain 13 per cent ahead of the price when Mr Hester took over in 2014.
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