SWITZERLAND – Rolf Hüppi is to resign as chairman of Zurich-based Zurich Financial Services, following the company’s decision earlier this year to replace him as chief executive officer as a consequence of public criticism that the chairman and CEO of the company should be separate offices.

A spokeswoman for the company says there is increasing media criticism that too much control lies in the hands of just one person. “We had already decided to appoint a new CEO. But that hasn’t calmed things down.

“Mr Hüppi has decided that any transition of power should be smooth and as such feels he can no longer continue as chairman either,” she says.

The board of Zurich is to appoint current vice-chairman, Lodewijk van Wachem, as new chairman at the company’s annual general meeting in May when it will also announce who will take over as CEO.