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QBE Group CEO departs after female employee complaint

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QBE Insurance Group CEO Pat Regan is leaving the company following an external investigation concerning workplace communications that revealed poor judgment, the company said today.

Chairman Mike Wilkins says the board has completed an investigation and has taken “decisive action”.

The insurer confirmed an issue was raised by a female employee just over a week ago. The details of the complaint have not been released, in part to protect the identity of the woman concerned.

“We are committed to having a respectful and inclusive environment for everyone at QBE,” Mr Wilkins said. “The board concluded that he had exercised poor judgment in this regard.”

Mr Wilkins will assume the role of Executive Chairman, taking on day-to-day oversight of QBE while an extensive internal and external search process is underway to find a new CEO.

Mr Regan was appointed to the top job in 2017, taking over from John Neal. Previously he was Australian and New Zealand CEO, and before that Group CFO. QBE brought him over from the UK, where he was CFO at Aviva.

Mr Regan joined the Male Champions of Change group, which uses influential leaders to help bring about gender equality, in 2018.

QBE says that to build on significant work already undertaken to develop a vibrant and inclusive culture at QBE, the board will put in place additional initiatives in coming weeks.

That will start with a board sponsored and externally supported culture review and the creation of an additional avenue for employees to safely raise concerns and receive support that will supplement existing channels.

“We want our people to have 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,” Mr Wilkins said.

QBE had already lost one senior executive, with CEO Australia Pacific Vivek Bhatia departing last month to lead listed information solutions company Link Group.