QBE Insurance Group Ltd (ASX: QBE) shares are down over 4% after the insurer announced the departure of its CEO.
QBE CEO change
Pat Regan, the CEO of QBE, will be leaving the company after being in the job for three years.
Why? QBE said there had been “an external investigation concerning workplace communications that the Board concluded did not meet the standards set out in the ‘Group Code of Ethics and Conduct”.
QBE Chairman Mike Wilkins said: “We are committed to having a respectful and inclusive environment for everyone at QBE. The Board concluded that he had exercised poor judgement in this regard.
“While these are challenging circumstances the Board recognises and thanks Mr Regan for his hard work and contribution to strengthening QBE. However, all employees must be held to the same standards.”
According to reporting by the Australian Financial Review, a complaint about Regan over inappropriate communications was made 10 days ago by a female employee. The AFR said QBE wasn’t going to comment on the details of the complaint, but ‘sources’ said the investigations found definitely that the complaints against Regan did not constitute sexual harassment.
What will QBE do?
Mr Wilkins will assume the role of Executive Chairman and take over day to day running of QBE. The company will mount an extensive internal and external international search for a new CEO.
QBE is going to put in place additional initiatives in the coming weeks to develop an inclusive culture in QBE with a culture review and create an additional avenue for employees to raise concerns safely.
Mr Wilkins said the fundamentals of the business are strong, though I’m not interested in buying shares. Insurers seem to get hit every time there’s a difficult natural catastrophe or a recession. I prefer ASX growth shares that can keep growing regardless of what happens, such as the three I wrote about here.