SWITZERLAND/GERMANY – Zurich Financial Services has closed on the acquisition of Deutsche Bank’s life insurance operations in Italy, Spain and Portugal as well as the sale of its asset management operations in Germany and Italy to Deutsche Bank.

This is the final part of a three stage deal which the two financial services groups struck last December. The first stage saw Zurich sell its investment management subsidiary, Zurich Scudder Investments to Deutsche Bank. In the second stage Zurich took a 75.9% shareholding, worth €1bn, in Deutsche Bank’s German insurance operations, which included Bonnfinanz, Deutscher Herold Group and DGV.

The closing also signals the start of the distribution deal the two companies entered into in which Zurich will offer insurance products exclusively to Deutsche Bank’s retail and private banking customers in Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain, and as preferred provider in other Continental markets. At the same time, Deutsche Bank will offer its banking services to Zurich’s customers throughout Europe.

Elsewhere, Zurich has announced that James Schiro has been appointed as new chief executive officer and Markus Granziol is to join the board as a non-executive member. Both will be based in Zurich.

Schiro joined Zurich a couple of months back as chief operating officer. He was previously global CEO at PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York since 1998, having been with Price Waterhouse since 1967.

Schiro replaces Rolf Hüppi, who resigned as chairman of the company earlier this year. Hüppi had already accepted the company’s decision to remove him as CEO amid media criticism that the two offices should be held by different people.

Granziol is currently chairman of UBS Warburg, having joined SBC Warburg in 1987. He will remain in his current position until August. His ratification as an executive board member is expected at Zurich’s annual general meeting next year.