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XL Hopes To Speed Up Decision-Making With Its Latest Reshuffle
Bermudian insurance group XL Capital has created a so-called office of the CEO – a team of five senior XL managers that will sit between CEO Brian O’Hara and the rest of the company.
Bermudian insurance group XL Capital has created a so-called office of the CEO a team of five senior XL managers that will sit between CEO Brian OHara and the rest of the company.
The new team will include Henry Keeling in the newly-created role of chief operating officer, previously head of business services and chief executive of XLs life reinsurance operations; Fiona Luck, previous head of global corporate services, in the new position of chief of staff; CFO Jerry de St. Paer and chief investment officer designate Sarah Street. The company is searching externally for someone to fill the fifth position chief executive of business services.
At first glance, this appears to be a succession plan for OHara. But XL spokesman Roger Scotton denies this is the main reason for the reshuffle. He says the firm has set up the new team to speed up decision-making and improve efficiency. The aim is to increase our ability to make decisions and execute on strategy right across the company, says Scotton. This is all about execution capability and getting things done as quickly as possible.
Under the old structure, the managers for all the individual units would report to OHara. But there are certain projects that covered several areas, and it was unclear who should be responsible for them. One example of this, says Scotton, is cycle management. Whose responsibility is that? Is it the head of insurance, the head of reinsurance, the CEO? he says. It could fall into several baskets.
With the new office of the CEO each of the five executives is responsible for several areas. Each unit will still have its own head, but they will report into the team of five. Keeling, for example, will be ultimately responsible for all areas of underwriting and risk assumption, spanning insurance and reinsurance. As chief of staff, Luck will be in charge of legal and actuarial functions, as well as a range of other areas such as human resources, marketing and communications. The team of five will effectively be able to make decisions for the whole group.
Scotton says it was possible to do group-wide projects under the old structure, but it is quicker and more flexible under the new office of the CEO. We just wanted to do it better, he says. A lot of companies are a lot bigger than they were and XL is one of them. The office of the CEO will help us become bit lighter on our feet.
The new structure will also free up some of OHaras time. He previously had 10 executives reporting to him. Now he only has five. For a long time Brian has said that he wants to spend more time with customers and investors, says Scotton. The new executive management structure will enable him to do this.