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Zurich's CEO Schiro Looking for Growth in '09 Before Retiring at Year-End

Posted on 30 Jan 2009

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CEO James Schiro of Zurich Financial Services AG is looking at both "organic and inorganic" growth for Switzerland's biggest insurer before stepping down as planned at the end of this year.

The Zurich-based company is “continuing to look at those areas we can grow,” he said in a television interview on Thursday with Bloomberg at the the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "We want to grow in personal lines in the U.S. and we have seen a big flurry of submissions for new business."

Zurich Financial pulled out of the bidding for Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc’s insurance unit last year and bought a 50 percent stake in Banco Sabadell SA’s insurance units. The insurer continues to look at opportunities for acquisitions, Chief Financial Officer Dieter Wemmer said in a separate interview at Davos today.

"The underlying core business is doing very well," Schiro said. The biggest impact from the recession is “from the financial markets on our investments,” he added.

Schiro, 63, will help the insurer’s board find his successor before stepping down when his contract expires.

"Right now my focus is on running Zurich Financial Services," Schiro said.