Our Insider is impressed at Swiss Re chairman Walter Kielholz’s business acumen
You’ve got to hand it to Swiss Re chairman Walter Kielholz. Apparently, he bought run-off consultancy PRO for £9 in 1996, back when he was an executive board member. The reinsurance giant sold PRO to run-off specialist Tawa for £38m in 2009. I understand he once described it as the most lucrative acquisition he ever made. Now that’s what I call a return on investment.
The British expat’s life is not always easy. I recently caught up with Ernst & Young principal & MENA insurance leader Justin Balcombe, who used to live in Australia. His daily ritual involved getting up at 5.30am and swimming from one end of Bondi Beach to the other, then running back. One day he noticed a group of lifeguards watching him. They told him 5.30am is when sharks like to feed, and the lifeguards had been running a book to see how long it would be before one took a bite out of Balcombe.
I was sorry to see Andy Murray crash out of Wimbledon, but the boy did well to get as far as he did. I was somewhat envious of Bluefin chief executive Stuart Reid, who managed to wangle tickets for him and his wife to the semi-final between Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, which the Scotsman won.
Ever wondered about the etymology of Seventeen Group? Chief executive Paul Turner informs me that he decided to name his company after the day of the month on which most of his family were born - the seventeenth.
When is London’s new office building the Cheese Grater not the Cheese Grater? When Aon’s corporate publicity machine rules otherwise, apparently. Aon staffers have been issued with the diktat that they must drop the amusing nickname and henceforth refer to the building as 122 Leadenhall Street.
A rumour floating round the broker market at the moment is that former Heath Lambert boss Adrian Colosso could end up on the Biba board once his gardening leave is over. Colosso and Andy Homer on one board? If it’s true, I predict sparks will fly.