Insurer names new CEO as lawsuit looms

Beleaguered firm says it will defend claims robustly if proceedings are brought

Insurer names new CEO as lawsuit looms

Insurance News

By Terry Gangcuangco

Watchstone Group – the company facing legal proceedings worth about £600 million (around SGD$1.05 billion) against Australian law firm Slater & Gordon – is strengthening its armour and aptly appointing its general counsel as the company’s new chief executive. 

A report by Sky News said Stefan Borson is replacing Indro Mukerjee as Watchstone’s boss at the end of 2017. The legal chief’s appointment as succeeding CEO is reportedly an indication of Watchstone’s confidence in its ability to successfully defend its claim against Slater & Gordon.

The Australian law firm wants to recoup over £635 million (around SGD$1.12 billion) after buying the biggest operating division of what used to be known as Quindell. It purchased Watchstone’s professional service division in 2015 but saw more than £570 million (around SGD$ 1 billion) in losses last year after writing off most of the acquired business’s value. 

When Slater & Gordon announced its planned claim, Watchstone denied any misrepresentation in the strongest terms and said it remains satisfied that neither the warranty claim nor a misrepresentation claim have merit. It added that it will defend such claims robustly if proceedings are brought.

Watchstone, which specialises in technology for the insurance industry, is also under investigation from the Serious Fraud Office.

Its incoming chief executive has been group general counsel & company secretary since August 2014 – heading Watchstone’s legal, regulatory, investor relations, corporate finance, and financial communications functions.

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