Australian insurance company IAG announced that Peter Harmer, managing director and chief executive, plans to retire by the end of 2020.
A flexible nine-month transition period was agreed with Harmer to ensure a smooth turnaround, Sydney-based IAG said in a statement.
The company notes that the search for a successor is underway, supported by the ongoing succession planning of the council, which ensures available fields from strong internal and external candidates.
In a separate announcement, IAG Chief Financial Officer Nick Hawkins was appointed as deputy CEO with responsibility for the management and performance of IAG’s daily operations during the transition period. He will start in this role soon.
Prior to Hawkins’s 12-year tenure as IAG CFO, he was the CEO of IAG New Zealand and also held a number of roles in finance and asset management since joining the group in 2001. Before joining IAG, Nick was a partner with KPMG’s strict accounting.
Hawkins is a Fellow of Chartered Accounts Australia & New Zealand and a Harvard Advanced Management Program graduate.
IAG Australia CEO Mark Milliner will continue to lead Australian businesses and remain focused on business growth, response to the process of recovering forest fires, and the ongoing operational challenges of COVID-19.
IAG Chair Elizabeth Bryan said that the company was fortunate to have two experienced and respected executives at Hawkins and Milliner, during the transition period.
“The arrangement that we announced today reflects the strength and stability of our senior management team and will ensure the smooth operation of the company through difficult times. The Council has discussed with Mr. “Harmer for some time about his plan, followed the sick period last year, and the company is ready to transition,” Bryan said.
Harmer will remain responsible for the overall strategic direction and performance of the group during the transition period and will directly lead the company’s response to the COVID-19 emergency, IAG said.
Michelle McPherson, CFO of Australia, has been appointed as the acting group CFO. Prior to joining IAG, McPherson was the chief financial officer and deputy chief executive officer for Nib Group, an Australian health and health insurance provider.
Harmer “has made a major contribution to IAG and is widely regarded as one of the best insurance executives in his generation,” Bryan commented.
“Peter is very important in creating a more innovative and customer-focused IAG. He has taken important steps to simplify the company while driving a culture that values digital innovation and prioritizes customers. Peter will leave IAG in a strong position for success in the future, “he said.
“It is an extraordinary privilege to lead IAG and after five years of role, I believe this is the right time to hand over control to my successor, who will lead the next stage of IAG’s growth and evolution,” Harmer said.
“My immediate priority is to guide the IAG response to, and recovery from, COVID-19 and manage our key external stakeholder relationships in an increasingly complex and dynamic environment,” he added.
During his 40-year career, Harmer has held senior roles in underwriting, reinsurance intermediaries and commercial insurance intermediaries. He joined IAG in 2010 and became CEO in November 2015. Previously, he was the chief executive of the IAG Labs division, responsible for driving digital and innovation throughout IAG and its brands. He also held the role of chief digital officer and was previously the chief executive of the Commercial Insurance division. He joined IAG as CEO of CGU Insurance.
Before joining IAG, he was CEO of Aon Limited UK, a member of Aon’s global executive board, and spent seven years as CEO of Aon’s Australian operations and was chairman and chief executive of Aon Re.
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