The international insurance industry was dealt a significant blow this weekend as news broke about the passing of Jay Fishman, long-time chief executive officer of Travelers.
Fishman navigated the US insurance giant, which also offers small business insurance in the UK, through turbulent times during the financial crisis and earned a stellar reputation for succeeding throughout the financial storm where big names failed.
Earning a reputation as an outstanding Wall Street player, Fishman made his way to Primerca in the 1990s and became a prominent executive before becoming Citigroup’s co-chief operating officer in 2000.
With Citi’s stock at $50, Fishman quit his position and moved to St. Paul Cos turning it around and merging it with Travelers, which was one of the company’s he had run while at Citigroup. Travelers performed exceptionally well during the financial crisis and was placed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average as its only property and casualty component. Ultimately, however, Fishman stepped down from his post at Travelers last December due to illness.
Born in the Bronx, his father was the owner of a small printing company but still sent Fishman to a private school. He met his future wife at the age of just 15 and ultimately raised two sons.
Fishman passed away at his home on Friday at the age of 63. He had been battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.
Travelers’ new CEO Alan Schnitzer issued a statement after Fishman’s passing.
“Though he would be too humble to admit it, Jay was an icon among corporate leaders,” he said. “I’ll miss my dear and close friend, and on behalf of all of us at Travelers, our hearts go out to his wife of nearly 40 years and childhood sweetheart Randy Fishman, Jay and Randy’s children and their beloved grandchildren.”
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