SWITZERLAND – Manfred Zobl, chief executive officer of Swiss insurance group Swiss Life/Rentenanstalt has unexpectedly resigned and will be replaced by Swiss division head, Roland Chlapowski. Mr Zobl was unavailable for comment but Swiss Life gave “differing strategic views with the board of directors” as the reason.

Swiss Life says Zobl oversaw many important developments including the transition from a mutual company to an incorporated company, the consolidation of its distribution channels and the strengthening of the company’s position abroad.

The board of directors has commissioned a review of the company’s strategy and is sticking to its decision not to pay a dividend this year. Despite speculation in the industry that the group is under pressure from investors to strengthen its balance sheet since it has failed to meet its growth targets, the board of directors says that the company has some of the highest reserves of any company in Switzerland, with expected consolidated profits of SFr100m (€67.8m).

Chlapowski joined the company in 1995 and managed its subsidiary, La Suisse, until 1999, when he moved on to head the Swiss division, which conducts all the company’s insurance activities in Switzerland.

The news comes days after Rolf Hüppi unexpectedly decided to step down as chief executive of rival Swiss insurance group, Zurich Financial Services.