Walter Jopp to head Zurich Global Life in the Middle East

Added 18th May 2016

Walter Jopp has been appointed chief executive of Zurich Global Life, Middle East & Africa, with immediate effect.

Walter Jopp to head Zurich Global Life in the Middle East

Walter Jopp

Jawed Barna, who had been running the Global Life division, has been appointed head of Life in Germany and deputy chief executive of the Zurich Group in Germany.

Based in Dubai, Jopp will now be responsible for leading the growth and development of Zurich's life business across the region, reporting directly to Matt Gosden, interim regional chief executive of Global Life Europe, Middle East & Africa.

“Middle East & Africa is a key region for our Global Life business. We have a sizeable business and market share there, and it is a cornerstone of our global growth and development strategy,” Gosden said.

Structural change

Jopp’s appointment comes amid a period of big change for Switzerland’s biggest insurer, which last year posted a 37% drop in operating profit.

In a bid to rebuild Zurich’s reputation with investors, the company is in the process of undergoing a $1bn+ (£700m, €900m) cost-cutting and efficiency drive that will impact around 8,000 of Zurich’s 55,000 employees by the end of 2018.

The effort is being led by a new chief executive in Mario Greco who joined the insurance giant in March having defected from Generali.

As part of the new efficiency programme the Global Life division closed its Singapore business to new customers in December, while Zurich plans to effectively exit its general insurance businesses in the Middle East by the end of 2016 or as soon as possible thereafter.

International figure

Jopp is well known in the global life insurance industry having had a broad international career during his 22 years with Zurich.

Most recently he was head of market management for the Middle East & Africa region and prior to that he was the head of market management for Asia Pacific and Middle East, where he drove several major strategic initiatives.

Jopp has held other international roles helping grow the Zurich business in Latin America, managing Global Accounts and working as regional manager for Scandinavia.

Before heading out to Asia and the Middle East he had worked in the UK as head of Global Sales for Zurich International Solutions, where he was responsible for sales management of the business outside of Asia Pacific, Middle East and Europe.

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Richard Hubbard

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Richard Hubbard is the group editor at Last Word. He is responsible for the editorial content of International Adviser, Portfolio Adviser, Expert Investor and Fund Selector Asia. Richard previously worked for Thomson Reuters and has covered the financial services industry and investment themes from its offices in London, Singapore, Hong Kong and New York. Richard started his career at the Australian Financial Review in Sydney.


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