All senior management roles will move to Switzerland

Zurich is understood to be moving all senior management roles to Switzer-land with UK managing director roles disappearing, Insurance Times has learned.

A well-placed source suggested that Zurich was "taking out a layer of day-to-day management to manage from afar", rather than having local senior directors in the UK.

"This means less autonomy for the local business, as there will be fewer decision makers in the UK," the source added.

Brokers responded with anger at the news. One source said: "It will be a fiasco. Moving managers to Switzerland will mean that European and British cultures have to work together. That is like trying to put a square peg into a round hole."

In a statement, a Zurich spokesperson said: "It is no secret that we are reviewing our operating model in our UK general insurance business, to more closely align it with our European blueprint.

"Since that time we have been concentrating on defining the shape and structure of our business, which we hope to announce in the coming weeks to all stakeholders - employees, brokers, partners."

The insurer added that, until it makes a formal announcement, rumours were "entirely speculative".

This comes as Ian Stuart, chief execu-tive, general insurance in the UK since 2004, announced his retirement from the company. The news was greeted with a mixed reception.

One source said: "It will be interesting to see how many people will miss Ian. Not many, he is known as the invisible man."

Zurich has appointed Guy Munnoch to the position, effective from 1 January 2007.

Munnoch will report to Dieter Wemmer, chief executive Europe general insurance, and be part of the executive committee for Europe general insurance. The appointment is subject to regulatory approval.