NU Online News Service, April 19, 6:06 p.m. – Zurich Financial Services Group Inc., Zurich, says its chairman, Rolf Hueppi, plans to resign at the company’s upcoming annual meeting, as soon as the company appoints a new chief executive officer.

Zurich Financial says its board expects Lodewijk van Wachem, now the vice chairman, to succeed Hueppi, but the company notes that the board must re-elect Wachem before he can take over as chairman.

Hueppi, who has worked for Zurich Life for 39 years, became chairman in 1995. He won a reputation as a master of global mergers and acquisitions, then faced criticism when some of the acquired operations performed poorly and the company had a difficult time coping with investment market volatility.

“It is desirable and important that the new leadership of our group can be established unencumbered by the ongoing public controversy surrounding me,” Hueppi says in a statement accompanying the announcement of his resignation.