Jerome Dill’s next chapter: Now is the perfect time for me to move on to the next stage of my career
Jerome Dill, corporate lawyer, former United Bermuda Party Minister of Education and Deputy Premier and now Validus legal counsel, is moving on to the next stage of his career.
He leaves Validus Re on August 31, and while he will remain in a consultancy role at the reinsurer he helped to build from its inception here, he talked broadly about a move that will take him into something different again — although he would not be drawn on specifics.
Sitting in his fifth floor office in the AIG building on Richmond Road, overlooking the wooded hills of Pembroke, he talk about Validus and his time there.
“I have been with Validus for nearly seven years, and in that time I have been a part of taking the company public, the listing on the New York Stock Exchange and the acquisition of an extremely successful Lloyd's syndicate, and a number of other mergers and acquisitions.
Validus chairman and chief executive officer Edward Noonan concurred. “Jerome was instrumental in the founding of Validus, first as outside counsel, and ultimately as General Counsel of the company,” he said.
“Jerome's expertise and experience were critical in helping us acquire Talbot Underwriters at Lloyd's. His United Kingdom legal training was a great asset for us.”
“I think of Jerome as a partner in the development and success of the company, and look forward to working together for many years to come in his role as outside counsel to the company.”
Mr Dill added: “I think that Validus is a robust and successful company, and that now is a perfect time for me to move on to the next stage of my career.”
Validus Reinsurance, Ltd was formed in December 2005 as an operating subsidiary of Validus Holdings, Ltd and is headquartered in Bermuda.
A provider of short-tail lines of reinsurance including property catastrophe, property pro rata and property per risk, as well as marine and energy, and other specialty lines.
Today, the reinsurer has an A (excellent) financial rating from AM Best.
In addition to their headquarters in Bermuda, Validus Re also has overseas offices in Asia, Continental Europe and Latin America.
“While I was here, I was obviously general counsel and responsible for global human resources, and I had the opportunity to work with a team of professionals globally on the HR front, to establish robust, cohesive HR and recruitment which continues to work well today.”
He said Validus' “driving principals” in their hiring practices: “ ... attracting, retaining and training the highest possible calibre of individual,” are the reason for this. “I'm proud of that,” he said.
His additional roles at Validus include working with the regulatory authorities. “I'm also responsible here as principal representative with overall responsibility for interfacing with the regulators, and our history as a company in that regard is very, very good.
“I'm proud of what we've built here at Validus — we have built a world class operation from scratch,” describing the reinsurer as “something special”.
“In the previous few years, we've worked under the Progressive Labour Party and now under the One Bermuda Alliance, and the transition of that. “Our function is to work with the government of the day, because Bermuda is our home — I don't believe we have any intention of developing in a way where Bermuda is not our home.
“Anything we can do to contribute, we are happy to do.”
Mr Dill pointed to Validus' philanthropic work. “We are very active in our charitable endeavours in Bermuda. I was the chairman of the charities committee here. The focus has always been on the development of the institution and the individuals in need — principally in Bermuda and absolutely with a Bermuda connection.
“I'm sure that will continue.
“On the basis of all of that, Validus is a successful group of companies and now is the time to move on to the next stage of my professional development,” he said.
Mr Dill says Bermuda is at a turning point, and he is anxious to take part in the new opportunities that he sees emerging.
“I take a look at Bermuda and the fact that our economy is based on international business and tourism — but more so I see the development of new ideas, and in connection with those two links of our economy — now is a perfect time to participate in the dialogue that we see played out (in Bermuda) about the way forward.
“I've seen very, very encouraging signs and I am keen to be a part of it — the development of some of these opportunities.
“What does that mean? Watch this space! Certainly things are in the process of developing.”
Politics — will it feature in Jerome Dill's future?
Before joining Validus Re, Jerome Dill was a major political figure in the last United Bermuda Party Government. “I was the former Deputy Premier. Obviously, I have a very big interest in Bermuda and in Bermuda politics, but just to be clear, I am absolutely a supporter of Craig Cannonier, and of his Ministers. It's important to keep in mind that what the Premier has inherited is, in a number of ways, the biggest challenge any politician anywhere could be called upon to deal with.
“In eight months he has certainly done as much as anyone can reasonably expect of him, and all the signs I've seen have been positive. Take where he currently is — but don't forget where Bermuda was, and the state the PLP left the country and its finances in — where we were, and where we are now.
“It would be unreasonable to expect the new Government to effect changes overnight.
However, he said: “Over the course of the next two to three financial quarters, people are absolutely within their rights to expect to see some tremendous developments — and I'm one of them.”
But he said: “I've no plans to become more politically active than I have been. I consider myself to have excellent access to the Premier and his Ministers, and have had several conversations and meetings with him, and fully expect that to continue — but I don't think it's important for me to become politically active.
“The opportunities which present themselves now are tremendous. To sit on the sidelines and not attempt to participate in some of these opportunities is something I wouldn't even contemplate doing. International business and tourism, and their development — development in ways that are perhaps not currently top of mind, I will be actively involved in.”
Despite the new opportunities that Mr Dill sees, the former Minister of Education said he is concerned about Bermuda's youth and their ability to take advantage of those opportunities.
As a Minister of Education, he oversaw the building of CedarBridge Academy and has a passion for ensuring that young people have the tools they need for their endeavours and development. “And when I left the education portfolio, we had been extremely successful,” he said.
“I advise young Bermudians interested in becoming involved in a meaningful way in our economy — as someone who came up through Bermuda education system from primary school through the Bermuda College, before going overseas and who then came back to Bermuda — the opportunities for Bermudians who are adequately qualified are still tremendous, but I would add that what is equally as important as formal education is that experience overseas — it gives a sense of how the real world works — and then bring all that back to Bermuda.
“I can't stress enough to young people that they must get a formal education in the best possible institutions and to have the practical experience overseas if possible — so they come back with an ability to compete.
“The educational part of it is vitally important. I hate to see non-competitive Bermudians without, quite frankly, the foresight, planning and resources — these otherwise non-competitive individuals could be at the top of their chosen professions.”