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Endurance Taps Axis Capital Founder as New Chairman, CEO

Source: A.M. Best

Posted on 30 May 2013 by Neilson

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Endurance Specialty HoldingsEndurance Specialty Holdings Ltd. said it's named John R. Chairman, a major shareholder and the founder and former chief executive officer of Axis Capital Holdings Ltd., to be the company's chairman and CEO, effective immediately.

He succeeds David Cash, who stepped down as the CEO and board member. William H. Bolinder, the current chairman, who has become the company's lead director.

Cash had been CEO since Endurance founding President and CEO Kenneth J. LeStrange stepped down in March 2010.

With his family, Charman is among the largest shareholders of Endurance. The Charman family has purchased $30 million of the company's ordinary shares and indicated their intent to reinvest the dividends received on their investment.

In an unusual move, Charman will receive a minimal base salary and no incentive compensation over the next five years. He will receive a stock option to purchase 800,000 ordinary shares and a grant of 708,890 restricted shares. The awards will vest over the next four years, subject to Charman's continued employment, or in the event of certain terminations of employment and other events.

Charman, 60, has four decades of global experience in the insurance industry, and has been in a senior underwriting position since 1975 and has been in a CEO role since 1981. Most recently, he served for 11 years as the CEO and president of Axis Capital. Before that, Charman was CEO of Tarquin plc, the parent company of the Charman Underwriting Agencies at Lloyd's, which was sold to Ace Ltd. in 1998. Charman was a deputy chairman of the Council of Lloyd's and a member of the Lloyd's Core Management Group and Lloyd's Market Board between 1995 and 1997 during the financial crisis at Lloyd's.

Charman's "investment of personal capital speaks volumes about his confidence in and commitment to our future opportunities," Bolinder said in a statement. "John Charman brings to Endurance outstanding leadership qualities, global insurance experience and the demonstrated ability to attain strong and consistent operating performance. John has a blue chip track record of delivering bottom-line results, improving underwriting ratios, managing risk and allocating capital efficiently."

Endurance "is a great company with great people and significant future potential," Charman said. "In support of my strong belief and commitment to Endurance's future and to fully align myself with the company's shareholders, I am investing a significant amount of my own capital in Endurance as well as foregoing any conventional compensation over the next five years in exchange for a single grant of restricted shares and options," Charman said in a statement.

Last year, Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd. acquired Galileo Weather Risk Management for an undisclosed amount. The newly acquired company will be the foundation of Bermuda-based Endurance's launch of a newly formed unit, Endurance Global Weather, the company said.

Also last November, Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd. named another former leader from Axis Capital to a management position. John ("Jack") Kuhn was named CEO of global insurance responsible for Endurance's U.S., Bermuda and International insurance operations. He joined Endurance from Axis Capital, where his most recent role was chief underwriting officer of Axis Insurance, responsible for the worldwide insurance operations and, prior to that, CEO of the North American division for Axis Insurance.

Endurance recently launched a new excess & surplus casualty business and expanded its inland marine team.

Units of Endurance Specialty Holdings currently have Best's Financial Strength Ratings of A (Excellent).

On the afternoon of May 28, shares of Endurance were trading at $49.32, up 2.73% from the previous close.