QBE share price tumbles lower after shock CEO sacking

The QBE Insurance Group Ltd (ASX:QBE) share price is dropping lower on Tuesday after the shock sacking of its CEO…

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The QBE Insurance Group Ltd (ASX: QBE) share price has come under pressure on Tuesday.

At the time of writing the insurance giant’s shares are down 5.5% to $10.03.

Why is the QBE share price under pressure today?

Investors have been selling the company’s shares after the shock announcement of the departure of its chief executive officer, Pat Regan.

According to the release, Mr Regan will be departing the company after almost three years in the role following an external investigation concerning workplace communications.

The outcome of this investigation found these communications did not meet the standards set out in the company’s code of ethics and conduct, leading to the board taking decisive action.

QBE Chairman, Mike Wilkins, commented: “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.”

What now?

Mr Wilkins will now assume the role of Executive Chairman, taking on day-to-day oversight of QBE, while an extensive internal and external international search process is underway to appoint a new chief executive officer.

The new executive chairman appears confident that this change won’t disrupt the company’s performance.

He commented: “The fundamentals of our business are strong, supported by cell reviews and Brilliant Basics which continue to grow in sophistication and remain key drivers of our performance. Alongside this, we are accelerating our program of work to build best-in-class data and digital capabilities to meet the evolving needs of our customers. Coupled with a greatly improved external pricing environment, these factors give me great confidence in our future.”

Mr Wilkins also notes that the company is navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic successfully.

“While COVID-19 has created significant challenges, QBE is successfully navigating this period of uncertainty, and the Group’s demonstrable financial strength positions us well to capitalise on accelerating pricing momentum and emerging organic growth opportunities,” he explained.

Culture changes.

The company also advised that the board will put in place additional initiatives in the coming weeks to further develop a vibrant and inclusive culture.

This will commence with a board sponsored and externally supported culture review and the creation of an additional avenue for employees to safely raise concerns and receive support that will supplement existing channels.

“We want our people to have the avenues they need to safely speak up, with the confidence that they will be heard and that all concerns raised will be treated consistently across our workforce,” Mr Wilkins concluded.

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