Insurance veteran Butt to retire

  • Illustrious career: Michael Butt, chairman of Axis Capital Holdings, will retire in September   

    Illustrious career: Michael Butt, chairman of Axis Capital Holdings, will retire in September   


Insurance industry veteran Michael Butt is to retire from his role as chairman of Axis Capital Holdings Ltd later this year.

A co-founder of Axis and member of the Insurance Hall of Fame, Mr Butt has played a leading role in Bermuda’s development as one of the world’s most significant re/insurance hubs.

Mr Butt will be succeeded by Henry Smith, former chief executive officer of the Bank of Bermuda, who has been an Axis director since May 2004 and as the lead independent director since May 2012.

He will retire effective September 16.

“I want to express my deep appreciation to Michael for all he has done for our company since its inception, and for the many contributions he has made to the re/insurance industry over the course of his career,” said Albert Benchimol, Axis president and CEO.

“Michael’s impact on our industry and our company has been immense. It has been an honour and a privilege to serve with Michael and call him my mentor, colleague and friend.”

A statement from Axis said that over the course of his five-decade career, Mr Butt has been “a builder of business, a builder of markets and a passionate voice on issues such as climate risk”.

He was appointed chairman of Axis in September 2002, and has played a pivotal role in guiding Axis from a start-up into an established player in the global re/insurance industry.

Mr Butt has held numerous leadership roles in the industry, including chairman of Sedgwick Ltd, chief executive officer of Eagle Star Holdings plc and Eagle Star Insurance Company; CEO of MidOcean Ltd; and director of XL Capital Ltd and Farmers Insurance Group.

In 2011, Mr Butt was appointed as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for distinguished contributions towards the building of the Bermuda re/insurance industry and in 2019 was named by the International Insurance Society as its 2019 Insurance Hall of Fame Laureate.

Mr Butt said: “I wish to express my gratitude to the many people who have made my nearly two decades at Axis so enjoyable. I particularly want to thank my fellow board directors and Axis colleagues, as well as our shareholders, clients, and partners in distribution.

“I am confident Axis is in good hands under the leadership of our CEO Albert Benchimol and the incoming independent board chairman Henry Smith, and believe the firm is very well positioned to be a leader in the specialty insurance and global reinsurance industry.”

Mr Smith is the former CEO and president of WP Stewart&Co Ltd. Previously he served as the CEO of the Bank of Bermuda Ltd, a position he held for seven years until the acquisition of the bank by HSBC Holdings plc.

At Axis, in addition to the role as chairman-elect of the Axis board of directors, Mr Smith is current chairman of the Executive and Compensation Committees and a member of the Corporate Governance and Nominating and Risk Committees.

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Published Feb 26, 2020 at 5:58 pm (Updated Feb 26, 2020 at 5:58 pm)

Insurance veteran Butt to retire

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