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Swiss Re chairman resigns

ZURICH – Peter Forstmoser, the chairman of the world’s biggest reinsurer Swiss Re, resigned, the group said Monday, as part of a reorganisation that focuses on cutting risks in its investment portfolio.

Forstmoser will be replaced by the group’s vice-chairman and chairman of Credit Suisse, Walter Kielholz.

The reorganisation at Swiss Re in turn prompted management changes at Credit Suisse.

The bank announced on Monday that Kielholz stepped down from his post heading the bank’s board in order to focus on his role at the reinsurer.

Hans-Ulrich Doerig, currently vice-chairman of the bank, was nominated to replace Kielholz as chairman of Credit Suisse.

Switzerland’s biggest financial institutions announced major management changes in 2009 after the country’s biggest bank UBS and Swiss Re posted unprecedented annual losses due to the US subprime home crisis and ensuing global credit crunch.

UBS announced the replacement of its chief executive officer and chairman.

Swiss Re’s chief executive Jacques Aigrain also resigned in February when the group posted its biggest annual loss of CHF 864 million for 2008 as earnings were hurt by investment losses.

Aigrain was widely blamed for leading the reinsurer into the risky sector of investment banking after he was appointed in January 2006.

On Monday, Swiss Re said its reorganisation aimed to "reduce significantly risks in the investment portfolio in order to protect the core business."

In addition, it is seeking to "ensure optimal capital management in order to satisfy increased demand from clients during this period of pronounced scarcity of financing in the global insurance sector."

AFP / Expatica