As of January 1, 2018, Axel THEIS will take over the responsibility for Insurance German Speaking Countries and Central & Eastern Europe from Werner ZEDELIUS (59), whose contract ends at the end of 2017 upon reaching the Board's designated age limit.
Oliver Bate says: "Werner ZEDELIUS has been a driving force at ALLIANZ for thirty years, the last 16 years as a member of the Board of Management. He is responsible for the successful development of the German-speaking countries and Eastern Europe. It is important that Axel THEIS, one of our most experienced managers, will take over these markets. I am particularly pleased that Niran PEIRIS, a highly successful manager in the Anglo-Saxon markets and with experience in customer centricity, takes over Axel Theis' area of responsibility and moves to the Board of Management of ALLIANZ SE."
Chief Operating Officer Christof MASCHER (56) has been a Board Member of ALLIANZ SE since 2009 and his contract has been extended by three years until the end of 2020. "It is very good that in these current times of change and digitalization of our business, we can continue to build on Christof MASCHER's experiences and his know-how," says Oliver BAETE.
In addition, it is planned to put Michael DIEKMANN (62) forward for election to the Supervisory Board at the Annual General Meeting 2017. Michael DIEKMANN was the Chief Executive Officer of ALLIANZ SE between 2003 and 2015 and became a Member of the Board in 1998. Helmut PERLET (69) will not stand for reelection at the Annual General Meeting 2017 for age reasons. If Michael DIEKMANN is elected to the Supervisory Board at the Annual General Meeting, it is planned to propose him to be the Chairman of the Supervisory Board.
Moreover, it is planned to propose Sophie BOISSARD (46), CEO of the French Korian Group, and Herbert HAINER (62), former Chief Executive Officer of adidas AG, for election to the Supervisory Board at the Annual General Meeting 2017 as shareholder representatives, succeeding Renate KOECHER (64) and Wulf BERNOTAT (68). Renate KOECHER has been a member of the Supervisory Board for 13 years. She will not stand for reelection due to the limitation of affiliation recommended by the German Corporate Governance Code.
Wulf Bernotat is close to the Supervisory Board's designated age limit. Furthermore, it is planned to propose Christine BOSSE (56), Friedrich EICHINER (61) and Jim HAGEMANN SNABE (51) for reelection to the Supervisory Board as shareholder representatives. Helmut PERLET says: "On behalf of ALLIANZ, I would like to express my sincere thanks to Renate KOECHER and Wulf BERNOTAT for their valuable support and commitment to the Supervisory Board over all the years. At the same time, we can propose six excellent candidates for election as shareholder representatives at the Annual General Meeting."
PROFILE: Niran PEIRIS
Niran PEIRIS is an Australian with all his heart and soul, although he only arrived there at the age of 16. Shortly after his birth in Sri Lanka, he moved to Great Britain with his parents, both physicians. Later the family, including two siblings, lived in New Zealand for some years, before they settled down in Australia. The only difference between PEIRIS and a "true" Australian is his steadfast loyalty to the All Blacks, New Zealand's most legendary rugby team. Thus, he understands cultural differences, change and integration processes.
Perhaps that's the reason why cultural diversity is so important to him. PEIRIS leads the Diversity & Inclusion program at ALLIANZ Australia and initiated the cooperation with the organization Set-tlement Services International, that offers initial aid to immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers in the country of their dreams. "There are many great and talented people among them, who are eager to build something," says PEIRIS. "Supporting them doesn't only make sense from a socio-political point of view. Diversity is also good for the business, especially in such a multicultural country as Australia."
The experience gained in different worlds - on a personal as well as on a professional level - was one of the reasons why the Supervisory Board appointed the 55-year-old to the Board of Management of ALLIANZ SE. But this was not the only reason. For more than four years, PEIRIS has lead one of the most successful subsidiaries of the ALLIANZ Group. When he joined ALLIANZ Australia at the end of 2000, coming from the competitor QBE, the premium income was at around 2 billion Australian Dollars. Last year, the company reached 4,6 billion and is one of the largest property insurers in Australia with 3 million customers.
Although PEIRIS, who studied economics and law at the University of Sydney, has long-standing experience in various functions - he was Chief Financial Officer, headed the retail distribution division and served as the Chief Executive Officer of ALLIANZ Australia Life - he knows that this appointment brings larger responsibilities. "I am excited about the challenge. There will certainly be different management approaches as well as cultural differ-ences, but I would like to think that some of my ideas from the other side of the world will enrich the debate and contribute to the company's success."
The only drawback for him, as a real Australian, is that he will miss the beach. As a kid, he spent a few years in Invercargill on the South Island of New Zealand. Although this region is a fa-mous alpine winter sports area, he was never really enthusiastic about racing down a hill on skis. "If it comes to skiing, I am a hopeless case but perhaps I can enjoy the mountains on foot," he says