Canadian Underwriter

Former Bermuda reinsurer CEO now on Intact board of directors

July 23, 2021   by Greg Meckbach

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Emmanuel Clarke, a former CEO of Bermuda insurer PartnerRe Ltd., is now on Intact Financial Corporation’s board of directors, Toronto-based Intact announced Thursday.

Clarke, a French national, was appointed CEO of PartnerRe in 2016, shortly after EXOR S.p.A. completed its US$6.9-billion acquisition of PartnerRe. Hamilton, Bermuda-based PartnerRe writes reinsurance and commercial specialty insurance.

“As a highly respected and seasoned professional with valuable global insurance industry experience, we look forward to Mr. Clarke’s guidance as Intact continues to execute its strategy,” Intact chairman Claude Dussault said July 22 in a release.

Intact is Canada’s largest property and casualty insurer when measured by premiums written in 2020.

PartnerRe announced July 28, 2020, that Clarke left PartnerRe by mutual agreement to pursue other opportunities outside of PartnerRe. Effective July 28, 2020, PartnerRe’s new CEO is Jacques Bonneau, who was already on the PartnerRe board in 2020. Bonneau is a former CEO of Ace/Chubb Tempest Re Group and former Group Chief Underwriting Officer of Chubb Ltd.

Originally, in early 2015, PartnerRe had agreed to merge with Bermuda-based Axis Capital – the goal was to form a global Top 5 reinsurer – but Italian investment firm EXOR offered more money to PartnerRe shareholders.

Clarke was not listed as a nominee to the Intact board of directors in Intact’s management information circular posted to SEDAR Mar. 31. That document went to shareholders in advance of Intact’s May 12 annual general meeting.

Carol Stephenson, who had served on Intact’s board since 2004, will not be standing for re-election to the board of Intact in 2021, Intact said in its Mar. 31 management information circular.

In essence, Intact’s corporate rules allow the board to appoint Clarke to serve until the 2022 annual general meeting, at which point Clarke could be nominated for election by shareholders.

Stephenson’s skills in the areas of governance and strategic leadership “greatly benefited” two committees of Intact’s board of directors — the compliance review and corporate governance committee, and the human resources and compensation committee — over the years, Intact said in its circular.

Intact is “very grateful for the time and energy [Stephenson] has contributed to advancing our vision and values and would like to offer its deepest thanks for her service,” Intact said Mar. 31.

Stephenson was CEO of telecommunications equipment manufacturer Lucent Technologies Canada – at the time, a competitor of Nortel Networks Corp. – in Markham, Ont., until 2003. [Lucent had been the Bell Labs division of AT&T before it was spun off as a separate manufacturing firm. In 2006, Murray Hill, N.J.-based Lucent merged with France-based telecom equipment maker Alcatel.]

After leaving Lucent, Stephenson was the dean of Western University’s Ivey School of Business in London, Ont.

New to Intact’s board – effective May 12, 2021 – is Indira Samarasekera, a metallurgical engineer who served from 2005 through 2015 as president of the University of Alberta. Samarasekera was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for her work on steel process engineering, Intact said this past March in its management information circular.

Dussault was re-elected to chairman of the board May 12, and has served on the board since 2008. Dussault was CEO of Intact, which was known as ING Canada at the time, from 2001 through 2007.

In addition to Dussault and Samarasekera, the 10 other board members elected May 12 by Intact shareholders are:

  • Intact CEO Charles Brindamour
  • Sylvie Paquette, former president of Desjardins General Insurance Group
  • Janet De Silva, who is also CEO of Toronto Region Board of Trade
  • Former Deloitte Canada vice chair Jane Kinney
  • Robert Leary, a former CEO of The Olayan Group
  • Tim Penner, a former president of Procter & Gamble Canada
  • Stuart Russell, an electrical engineering and computer science professor at University of California at Berkeley
  • Frederick Singer, who is also CEO of education software maker Echo360
  • Carolyn Wilkins, a former Bank of Canada senior deputy governor
  • William Young, who is also chair of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.

Feature image courtesy of Intact

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