Mark Watson is retiring from his role as CEO of Bermuda headquartered international specialty insurance and reinsurance firm Argo Group with immediate effect and Kevin J. Rehnberg is taking over as interim CEO.
Subject to Bermuda regulatory approval, Rehnberg will take on the role of Interim Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately, as Watson steps back but remains in an advisory capacity to ensure a smooth handover.
Watson is retiring from Argo, but will continue to hold a Board position and work as an advisor to Argo Group until December 30th 2019, to help ensure a smooth transition to a new permanent leader.
The Chairman of Argo’s Board of Directors, Gary V. Woods, commented, “The Board thanks Mark for his 20 years of service and his leadership in building the business, and wishes him well in his next endeavor.”
Mark Watson said, “It has been a great honor to build and lead this great company, and I look forward to its continued success under Kevin Rehnberg’s leadership.”
Watson had become a figurehead for the insurance and reinsurance group, but recently came under investor pressure.
Rehnberg has been President, Argo Group U.S., Inc., head of the Americas and Chief Administrative Officer of the company since the beginning of 2019.
Prior to that he was President of Argo’s U.S. Operations, overseeing all U.S. business activities at Argo.
Chairman Woods said, “Argo’s Board of Directors has complete confidence in Kevin’s ability to lead the Company. Kevin’s extensive leadership experience, including his strong track record running our Americas business, will ensure a smooth transition and position the Company for continued growth and performance.”
Rehnberg added, “It is an honor to take on the interim CEO role and along with Argo’s talented leadership team, I’m proud to serve our clients and distribution partners. Argo is well positioned to continue delivering strong results for shareholders through profitable underwriting, long-standing relationships with distribution partners, operational excellence and disciplined capital management. We have also demonstrated the ability to unlock significant efficiencies and enhance customer service through technology and innovation. I will remain focused on these operating strategies.”
Before joining Argo, Rehnberg was executive vice president for specialty lines at OneBeacon Insurance, before which he held positions at The St. Paul Travelers Companies, Liberty International and Chubb Corporation.
The independent directors of the Argo Group Board are conducting a review of governance and compensation matters, which was triggered by activist investor pressure in recent months.
Argo said that it believes that “The amounts involved are not material to the Company’s financial position or results of operations,” and said that the firm is cooperating with an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission related to its disclosures of compensation related matters.
Argo has been steadily ramping up its use of third-party reinsurance capital ever since it acquired Ariel Re, resulting in a situation where the company now experiences significant capital efficiencies through the use of lower-cost capital.