IAG has confirmed the departure of its most senior lawyer today with group general counsel and company secretary Chris Bertuch stepping down indefinitely.
Bertuch, who has been on unexplained extended leave since early June, will officially leave the $20 billion insurance giant on September 30 – seven years after he first joined the firm.
“Chris has been a key member of my leadership team and has led a number of landmark transactions which have transformed IAG, cementing our position as Australia and New Zealand’s leading general insurer,” said CEO and managing director Peter Harmer.
“These included the acquisition of Wesfarmers’ insurance underwriting business in 2014, the Berkshire Hathaway strategic relationship in 2015 and most recently the agreed sale of IAG’s operations in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia in June this year.”
Bertuch also played an integral part in establishing IAG’s first Reconciliation Action Plan, founded IAG’s Ethics Committee, and has overseen the company’s preparation for the Royal Commission.
News of Bertuch’s departure is unlikely to come as a shock to the industry after a report published last week in the Australian Financial Review revealed his absence and predicted he would not return.
Interestingly, Bertuch isn’t the only top insurance lawyer to step down in recent months – in April this year, AMP’s group general counsel and company secretary Brian Salter also resigned after the Royal Commission uncovered misconduct and failures in regulatory disclosures in AMP’s advice business.