Swiss Life Replaces Chief Exec Again
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ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) _ Beleaguered insurer Swiss Life said Wednesday it had replaced its chief executive for the second time this year.
Current CEO Roland Chlapowski, who had been in the job for eight months but was under pressure after recent disclosures that he and other top executives reaped big returns from a secretive investment fund, is stepping down in favor of Rolf Doerig at the helm of Switzerland’s largest insurer.
Doerig, 45, is joining Swiss Life from Credit Suisse Group, where he was the chief executive of corporate and retail banking at the bank’s asset management division, Credit Suisse Financial Services.
Doerig is Swiss Life’s third chief executive this year. Chlapowski had succeeded longtime chief Manfred Zobel, who was ousted in February.
Swiss Life is under investigation by the country’s federal insurance office and a Zurich prosecutor after revelations about a secretive investment fund from which executives made huge gains.
Six of Swiss Life’s top managers made an 11.5 million Swiss franc ($7.8 million) gain on an investment of 3.8 million francs ($2.6 million) in the fund, Long Term Strategy AG, the company disclosed last week.
Chlapowski, who said the top management’s participation in the fund met all legal requirements, made a profit of 3.2 million francs ($2.2 million) on an investment of 967,000 francs ($658,000) before the fund was closed in July. Other top managers who participated in the fund included Zobel and former finance head Dominique Morax.
Swiss Life’s board faced criticism over the investment fund at a time when the company was forced to restate its first-half results after what it said were accounting errors.
The Zurich court also is investigating the mistakes, which led to a widening of Swiss Life’s first-half 2002 loss, and turned last year’s profit into a loss.
Last week, Swiss Life revised its first-half loss to 578 million Swiss francs ($393 million), which was worse than the previously reported 386 million francs.
Swiss Life blamed a technical glitch in its securities administration system that incorrectly led to an error in calculating the value of some bond investments. Auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers discovered the mistake when it reviewed Swiss Life’s first-half accounts ahead of a planned share offering.
In September, Swiss Life also restated its first-half results for 2001. The company said it had lost 1 million francs ($680 million), rather than a profit of 254 million francs as reported previously.