Insurer AXA’s Chairman and Chief Executive Henri de Castries will step down on Sept. 1 after nearly 17 years as CEO to bring in a new management team to implement the French company’s new strategic plan, he said on Monday.
AXA Germany head Thomas Buberl, 42, will become deputy CEO from Monday before taking over as CEO in September.
The post of chairman will also be split from the chief executive role with current deputy CEO in charge of finance Denis Duverne, 62, replacing Castries as chairman.
In a letter to staff announcing his departure, Castries said “it is only natural that a new team launches and manages our new strategic plan to be announced in June 2016”, adding he would work with Buberl and Duverne to ensure a smooth transition.
Under a five-year strategic plan completed last year, the company consolidated its position as Europe’s second-biggest insurer after Germany’s Allianz by trimming its exposure to mature markets and increasingly focusing on faster growing emerging markets where insurance coverage remains low.
De Castries, who had flagged his intention to retire, said last month the next plan would to some extent be a continuation of AXA’s efforts to become more efficient, more selective and accelerate its business in some activities or territories.
Since joining AXA in 2012, Buberl has headed the group’s life and savings business as well as its health line. Previously he has worked at the Winterhur group, which was acquired by AXA in 2006, and the Zurich Insurance Group. (Reporting by James Regan and Leigh Thomas; Editing by Stephen Coates and Susan Thomas)