Validus Re CEO Resigns In Management Shake Up

Conan Ward has resigned as CEO and executive vice president Validus Re, the reinsurance subsidiary of Validus Group, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Kean D. Driscoll, currently Chief Underwriting Officer of Validus Re, was appointed Chief Executive, according to a firm statement. Additionally, Jeff Clements, currently Head of U.S. Property and Specialty underwriting at Validus Re has been appointed Chief Underwriting Officer and Paul Manders, currently Executive Vice President of Marine Underwriting at Validus Re will act Head of Specialty Underwriting. Chris Silvester, currently Senior Vice President of U.S. Property Underwriting at Validus Re has been promoted to Executive Vice President and Head of U.S. Property Underwriting, the statement said.

It is the latest upheaval for the Bermuda-based reinsurer that has weathered tumultuous several months, including a failed merger, a new alliance with hedge fund titan and significant catastrophe losses.

The resignation was effective May 21, 2012, but no successor was named in the document. Ward will remain as an advisor to the board of directors — the filing states — and will receive a base salary of $618,000 per year as well as “an annual bonus for each of 2012 and 2013 equal to 150% of the Base Salary.”

In return for the salary and bonus, Ward agreed to a non-compete clause that prevents him from using his skills against Validus for six-months from the end of his contract period. In addition, Ward agreed not to solicit any Validus employees for one year.

Representatives of Validus Group did not immediately return emails for comment.

“Kean, Jeff and Paul were part of the original underwriting team at the time we formed Validus in 2005 and were instrumental in merging cutting edge analytic expertise with underwriting excellence in building our reinsurance business,” said Validus Holdings CEO Ed Noonan in a prepared statement.

In November Validus abandoned its takeover bid for Transatlantic Re following a rare hostile takeover drama for the reinsurance industry. Validus walked away from Transatlantic after it reached a $3.4 million merger agreement with Allegheny Corporation.

In April the company announced it had created a new reinsurance vehicle with hedge fund titan John Paulson called PaCRe Ltd with a $500 million initial capitalization. Validus acts as underwriter for the vehicle while Paulson manages the investments.

Validus reported first quarter operating income last month of $92.9 million, or $0.88 per diluted common share, compared to and $165.4 million operating loss in the prior year period.

During the same period the Validus Re subsidiary reported $85.5 million of losses attributable to the Costa Concordia sinking and severe tornado activity in the U.S.


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