XL Group boss McGavick moves family back to US

  • XL CEO Mike McGavick

    XL CEO Mike McGavick

XL Group chief executive officer Mike McGavick is to relocate his family home from Bermuda to the US for family reasons.

And Greg Hendrick, another executive who has been based on the Island for several years, will also be moving to the US for similar reasons.

In an interview yesterday, Mr McGavick dismissed industry rumours of a mass exodus of jobs to Stamford, Connecticut, where XL has substantial operations. He said he would be keeping his corner office in XL House, and that the changes would have no impact on Bermuda operations and would not cost jobs.

The former Safeco CEO took over the top job at XL in May 2008 and has overseen the company’s recovery and stabilisation through the most difficult spell in its 25-year history, after it suffered from exposure to the subprime mortgage crisis through Syncora Holdings, a financial guarantee company and a former affiliate of XL.

“My family’s been here three years now, but the kids are getting to an age where we want them in US schools, in the country of their birth,” Mr McGavick said, adding that his eldest son was about to go into high school and his youngest into the seventh grade.

“I’ll be continuing to come down here, in fact I joked with my colleagues, that no, they can’t have my office.

“The reality is that I’m on the road for about 60 percent of the time, as it is. And in the past, something like 23 of those days are in New York. There’s a reality that I’ll be doing more up there, but I’ll be here plenty.”

Mr McGavick said he was also in line to become the next chairman of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers (ABIR), and would be using a rented cottage as accommodation for his regular visits to XL’s Bermuda operations.

He explained that, as a global company with offices in 27 countries, XL’s senior management team was not all based in the same country, and never had been throughout his three years leading the company.

“We’ve probably been at a peak, in recent history, of senior executives being in Bermuda,” Mr McGavick said. “Some of those people have been staged both out of other places and Bermuda.

“Will I be doing more up there? Sure. Are there others who are making changes for their own idiosyncratic reasons? Sure. But we’ve always been very flexible with where people live. All the time I’ve been here we’ve had a distributed senior management team and I expect we’ll continue to.”

Last week, XL announced the appointment of Peter Porrino as its new chief financial officer, replacing Irene Esteves. Mr Porrino wanted to stay in the US, where he was based in his former role with Ernst & Young, and will do so.

“With the replacement of Irene Esteves, the person we really wanted, wanted to stay up north. He’ll be here plenty. But that wasn’t a change. It was a case of if we wanted to recruit that person, that’s where he wanted to live.

“Another one who’s a long-time Bermuda guy is Greg Hendrick. Greg’s no longer in an operating role, he’s moving over to a strategic job. For him, it was the same thing. His kids got to an age where he really wanted to get them back to US schools.”

Mr Hendrick, a former president and chief underwriting officer of XL Re, was appointed executive vice-president, strategic growth, last year.

“There are others who’ve been more down here because I’ve been here, and will be less down here because I won’t be down here as much,” Mr McGavick said. “The most important thing is it has no implications for the business whatsoever.”

But would others be relocating because senior managers would be spending more time in the US?

“I can’t say a blanket ‘no’ to that, but that isn’t about this,” he said. “People are always looking at how to become more efficient. That question never changes. And I’ve been pretty clear about that when we’ve had really difficult decisions in the past. But there’s no decision that hinges on where our management team is, because it’s always been distributed.

“One thing I can say for certain is that as long as Bermuda remains an important centre for insurance and reinsurance, we intend to play a leading role.”

From a personal perspective, Mr McGavick has enjoyed the island life and has particularly relished his involvement with rugby, with both of his sons representing Bermuda in their age groups and Mr McGavick having done some weekend coaching of juniors.

“We’ve enjoyed every minute of it and I’m sure my family will feel a deep attachment to Bermuda for the rest of their lives,” he added.

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Published Jun 22, 2011 at 8:00 am (Updated Jun 22, 2011 at 8:58 am)

XL Group boss McGavick moves family back to US

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