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Mike Wilkins named QBE Chairman

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Former IAG CEO Mike Wilkins will become QBE Group Chairman at the start of next month, taking over from Marty Becker, who is retiring from the board.

Mr Wilkins has more than 30 years’ experience in financial services and joined QBE as a non-executive director in November 2016.

“Our incoming Chairman Mike Wilkins is very well known and should make a seamless transition,” CEO Pat Regan said today. “I look forward to working very closely with Mike.”

Mr Wilkins will retire from the AMP board tomorrow, ahead of increasing his responsibilities at QBE, after unexpectedly stepping up to play a key role in steadying the financial services group during its tumultuous post-Hayne royal commission period.

He joined AMP as a non-executive director a year after leaving IAG, and briefly became interim executive chairman when Acting CEO Craig Meller and chairman Catherine Brenner stepped down in 2018 due to scandals examined by the royal commission.

His business acumen first came in for widespread attention in 2003 when, as CEO of Royal & SunAlliance Australia-owned life insurer Tyndall he convinced his UK-based directors to let him float a new company keeping all the group’s business units together, rather than sell it piece by piece. The result was Promina, which Mr Wilkins sold to Suncorp three years later for $7.9 billion.

AMP Chairman David Murray said today that Mr Wilkins “brought his considerable experience, insight and judgement to the leadership of our company and retains the respect of our shareholders as well as our employees”.

Mr Becker, who has worked in the insurance industry in the US, Bermuda and the UK, joined QBE in 2013 and has been chairman since 2014. He will retire from the board on April 30, ahead of the AGM in Sydney on May 7.

QBE has become a simpler, more globally connected and stronger organisation over the past seven years, he says.

“I believe the time is now right for me to step down and for a new chairman to bring fresh ideas and perspectives to QBE,” he said. “I am delighted the board has chosen Mike Wilkins to succeed me.”

Mr Wilkins currently chairs the insurer’s people and remuneration committee and sits on the audit and operations and technology committees. He is also on the Medibank Private board and has previously served as a director of Alinta, Maple-Brown Abbott and The Geneva Association.