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Max Re confirms Becker as Cooney replacement

Bermudian (re)insurer Max Re Capital Ltd confirmed last week that acting chairman and CEO W Marston Becker has been permanently appointed to the position, following the sudden departure of his predecessor Bob Cooney.

Becker, a director of Max Re Capital Ltd and Max Re Ltd since April 2004, took the helm on an interim basis on 29 October after the company announced founding CEO Bob Cooney had resigned from the firm and revealed it had reopened investigations into two finite reinsurance deals.

On his permanent appointment, Becker said: “This is a dynamic organisation with superior underwriters and insurance professionals who have deployed our capital across a diversified portfolio of risks. I look forward to building on our present strong foundation as we guide the Company to ever increasing success for our shareholders.”

Becker’s track record includes chairman and CEO of the run-off of LaSalle Re Holdings Ltd since 2002, chairman and CEO of Trenwick Group Ltd between 2002 and 2005, and vice chairman and director of Royal & Sun Alliance USA.

He also currently serves as a director of listed Lloyd’s (re)insurer Beazley Group plc.

At the time of Cooney’s departure, Max Re announced that Peter Milton, its chief risk officer, had taken the role of chief operating officer, with Angelo Guagliano, executive vice president of Max Re Ltd and president of its Insurance Division, appointed chief underwriting officer.

It also explained it had reopened the investigations into two of the three reinsurance contracts its Audit and Risk Committee scrutinised and cleared in May this year after previously unavailable evidence regarding risk transfer came to light.

It said the information “raised the possibility of the existence of an oral agreement that would negate risk transfer”, leading it to restate financial statements from 2001 through to 30 June 2006.

The company added that the reduction to retained earnings at 30 June 2006 would not be more "than approximately $10mn, or approximately 0.8 percent of shareholders' equity or $0.17 per share".

Max Re said it had contacted the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in connection with the investigations, but it is not known at this time if the US regulator will take action against the company or Cooney.

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