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AXIS announced the retirement of co-founder & chairman Michael Butt

February 26, 2020

Bermuda based (re)insurer AXIS Capital Holdings Limited announced that Michael Butt, co-founder and chairman of the board of directors will retire from the business and be succeeded by Henry B. Smith, effective 16th September 2020.

Butt is recognised as an industry leader who is credited for his active role in establishing Bermuda as one of the worlds leading (re)insurance hubs.

Butt will be succeeded by Smith, who has served as a member of the AXIS Capital board of directors since May 2004 and a lead independent director since May 2012.

Butt has worked in the industry for 50 years and is recognised as a builder of businesses, market and a passionate voice on climate risk issues. In September 2002 he was appointed chairman of AXIS Capital board of directors and has played a vital role in guiding the business from start-up into an established global player.

He has held numerous leadership roles including serving as chairman of Sedgwick, CEO of Eagle Star Holdings plc and Eagle Star Insurance Company, CEO of MidOcean Limited, director of XL Capital Limited and Farmers Insurance Group.

In 2011, he was named as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) to commemorate his contributions toward the building of the Bermuda reinsurance industry and in 2019 Butt was named by the International Insurance Society as its 2019 Hall of Fame Laureate.

Smith, Butt’s successor is the former CEO and president of W.P. Steward & Co Limited. He previously served as CEO of the Bank of Bermuda Limited. In addition to his role as chairman-elect at AXIS, Smith is currently chair of the Executive and Compensation Committees and a member of the Corporate and Nominating and Risk Committees.

Albert A. Benchimol, AXIS president and CEO, said: “I want to express my deep appreciation to Michael for all he has done for our Company since its inception, and for the many contributions he has made to the (re)insurance industry over the course of his career. Michael’s impact on our industry and our Company has been immense. It has been an honour and a privilege to serve with Michael and call him my mentor, colleague and friend.”

Butt added: “I wish to express my gratitude to the many people who have made my nearly two decades at AXIS so enjoyable. I particularly want to thank my fellow Board Directors and AXIS colleagues, as well as our shareholders, clients, and partners in distribution. I am confident AXIS is in good hands under the leadership of our CEO Albert Benchimol and the incoming independent Board Chairman Henry Smith, and believe the firm is very well-positioned to be a leader in the specialty insurance and global reinsurance industry.”