German insurance giant Allianz has named the head of its Russian business as the next chief executive of its Irish unit, succeeding company veteran Sean McGrath, who is retiring.
Allianz Ireland said that Mr McGrath, who has been with the company for the past 35 years, the last seven of which have been as CEO, will be departing at the end of March. The Carlow native started his career four decades ago with New Ireland Assurance.
Phillip Gronemeyer, a German native who has been with Allianz for almost two decades, will be his successor, the company said in a statement. He joins from Allianz Russia, where he has served as CEO since February 2019, leading its property and casualty, life and health operations.
Allianz agreed last June to sell a majority stake in its Russian operations to Interholding, the owner of Russia’s Zetta Insurance, as it sought to pare its footprint in the country after the invasion of Ukraine. It had already stopped accepting new business in Russia in the months before the deal and has flagged that it will take a €400 million financial hit from the transaction.
The Irish unit, registered at Allianz plc, saw its gross written premium rise 7 per cent to €629.7 million in 2021, according to its latest set of accounts. Its net profit soared to €44.7 million from €12.3 million for the previous year, buoyed by lower costs from business interruption claims stemming from Covid-19 lockdowns.
The company has over 700,000 customers on the island of Ireland and close to 700 employees.
“Sean has made significant contributions to Allianz Ireland during the past 35 years. He transformed the company into one of the leading Irish P & insurers, achieving growth and profitability at the same time,” said Chris Townsend, a member of the German parent group’s board of management.