QBE's John Neal is going

Photo by Getty Images for QBE

John Neal is stepping down after five years as CEO of QBE, Australia’s biggest insurance company.

Neal earlier this year lost $552,500 in bonuses after he was slow to inform his board of directors about a relationship with a staff member.

He will be replaced by Pat Regan, chief executive of Australian and New Zealand operations and a former CFO, from January 2018.

Regan said: “QBE has some clear strengths and great franchises, as well as talented and dedicated people and I am delighted to be appointed to lead the group. One of my first priorities will be to lead a search for my successor as chief executive officer of our Australian and New Zealand Operations.”

Before joining QBE he was the chief financial officer at Aviva plc in London, group chief operating officer and chief financial officer at Willis Group Holdings, group financial controller at Royal & Sun Alliance and AXA SA’s finance and claims director for the UK General Insurance business (2001 – 2004).

QBE chairman Marty Becker says Regan has led a strong turnaround in the Australian and New Zealand operations.

QBE last month posted an interim half year profit of $345 million, up 30% from the same time last year and broadly in line with expectations.

However, a disappointing performance from it’s emerging markets division, with higher than expected claims, weighed on the share price.

The company is forecasting steady growth in a challenging global environment.

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