Former Admin Re chief exec claimed year-long condition was an unenforcable breach of contract

Swiss Re is believed to have agreed a settlement with the former chief executive of its life and health insurance subsidiary, Admin Re, writes Danny Walkinshaw.

It comes after Jonathan Yates lodged a writ in the High Court after he lost his job as head of Admin Re on 1 July 2009. Yates, who also headed the reinsurance giant’s Windsor Life business, was seeking a legal declaration that the decision to place him on one year’s gardening leave was in breach of his employment contract.

Tim Hodgson, vice-president of Swiss Re, and Yates’s line manager Weldon Wilson told Yates he would be given a year’s gardening leave, but failed to give him any explanation as to why, the writ claims. Yates said that Admin Re also failed to give adequate reasons explaining why this measure was needed to protect its business interests.

Yates argued that a clause in his contract allowing Admin Re – a vehicle through which Swiss Re acquires closed blocks of in-force life and health insurance business – to put him on a year’s gardening leave was unenforcable, and an unreasonable restraint on his ability to work.

He claimed that the lengthy leave reduced his chances of obtaining future employment.

The terms of the settlement that was reached have not been disclosed.

In April, Swiss Re announced that it was cutting 10% of its 11,560-strong workforce over a 12-month period. Its new chief executive, Stefan Lippe, announced the cuts as part of his 90-day review of the business, which reported a catastrophic £500m loss for 2008 and led to the departure of former boss Jacques Aigrain.

A Swiss Re spokesman declined to comment. Jonathan Yates could not be reached for comment.