QBE CEO departs after complaint from female colleague

Board outlines “decisive action”

QBE CEO departs after complaint from female colleague

Insurance News

By Camilla Theakstone

QBE CEO Pat Regan is set to leave the company following an external investigation into workplace communications and a complaint by a female employee.

In a statement to the stock exchange today, the insurance giant said its board took “decisive action” to remove Regan from his role following an external investigation but fell short of saying the CEO had been fired.

As of this morning, it was understood Regan was not performing any duties for the company but remained an employee of the company. A woman who works in QBE’s North American division is understood to have complained about Regan a week ago, leading to an investigation conducted by a large Australian law firm.

Although QBE’s statement did not divulge any details of the original complaint, it conceded that, resulting from the investigation, its board had concluded that Regan’s communications “did not meet the standard set out in the group code of ethics and conduct.”

“We are committed to having a respectful and inclusive environment for everyone at QBE,” chairman Mike Wilkins said.

“The board concluded that he had exercised poor judgment in this regard.

“While these are challenging circumstances the board recognises and thanks Mr Regan for his hard work and contribution to strengthening QBE. However, all employees must be held to the same standards.”

Regan, who has been employed by QBE since 2014 and CEO since 2018, is listed as a Male Champion of Change, a group founded by former sex discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick that aims to “achieve a significant and sustainable improvement in the unacceptable low levels of women in leadership,” according to a Guardian report.

Wilkins will now act as executive chairman while QBE looks for a permanent replacement for Regan. He added the company would move to make it easier for staff to report concerns and would commission an external review of its corporate culture in the aftermath of Regan’s departure.

“We want our people to have the avenues they need to safely speak up, with the confidence that they will be heard and that all concerns raised will be treated consistently across our workforce,” he said.

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