Denis Kessler will remain chairman of Scor until 2024. On Wednesday, the shareholders of the French listed reinsurer validated at a general meeting the change in the company’s articles of association allowing the person who was CEO of the world number four to remain in the post of chairman. industry for nearly 20 years.
The shareholders thus approved at 77% the raising of the age limit from which the chairman of the board of directors is required to leave office. Today fixed at 70 years, this limit has been pushed back to 72 years. Denis Kessler, who this year reached the milestone of 70 years, will therefore be able to stay two more years.
The proxy advisory agency Glass Lewis had recommended that shareholders reject this resolution presented by the group now headed by Laurent Rousseau as a way of ensuring the continuity of its strategy. Glass Lewis argued in particular that the board of directors had failed in 2021 when installing a successor to Denis Kessler.
After announcing in December 2020 the arrival at the helm of Benoît Ribadeau-Dumas, a newcomer to the reinsurance sector, the group finally reviewed the announced succession plan in May 2021. Denis Kessler argued that he wanted to leave his position as Chairman and CEO earlier than expected for “personal reasons” and the group installed an internal candidate, Laurent Rousseau, as CEO.
The episode fueled criticism of the group’s governance, in particular made by the CIAM fund, a very small shareholder in the reinsurer. The proxy advisory agency ISS had, for its part, recommended that shareholders provide “measured support” for the change of statutes.
During the general meeting, many Scor shareholders (nearly 42%) disapproved of Denis Kessler’s compensation for his activities as CEO carried out during the first part of 2021. Criticized by proxy advisory agencies, this remuneration has however been validated. Just like the remuneration of Denis Kessler as president from the summer of 2021 which was widely approved (94%). The remuneration of the general manager Laurent Rousseau was also very widely approved (98%).
New climate commitments
Scor also took advantage of its general meeting to announce two new commitments “reinforcing its sustainable development strategy”. The group undertakes not to provide cover for new oil field projects as of 2023. However, it indicates that exceptions may be granted.
“The French reinsurer was the last of the main European insurers without any oil and gas exclusion measures”, noted in a press release the organization Reclaim Finance, which wants to put “finance at the service of the climate”.
“On the other hand, the measures announced do not allow Scor to completely catch up with Swiss Re, Hannover Re and Allianz, which have also terminated their coverage of new gas production projects”.