Tower names Australian as its new chief executive

Tower's new top man, Richard Harding.

Tower's new top man, Richard Harding.

General insurer Tower has named Australian Richard Harding as its new chief executive.

Harding's last job was as head of Territory Insurance Office (TIO), which was Australia's last state-owned insurance company, until it was privatised in December.

The controversial sale to the world's largest insurer Allianz was made to free up funds for infrastructure spending in the Northern Territories where TIO operates.

Harding will take up the post at NZX-listed Tower on 17 August, replacing current chief executive David Hancock, who is leaving after two years.

The Tower Harding will run is very different from the one Hancock took over two years' ago.

Then Tower offered not just house, contents, car and travel insurance, but was also a life and health insurer as well as a fund manager.

The funds business was sold to Fisher Funds.

Australian medical insurer nib took over its health insurance operation and Foundation Life and Fidelity Life bought parts of its life insurance business.

Tower chairman Michael Stiassny said: "Over the past two years Tower has made significant progress in implementing its growth strategy, transforming itself into a general insurer that cares passionately about its customers in New Zealand and the Pacific."

"Richard's proven experience in driving transformational change, alongside his commitment to creating and realising shareholder value, will support Tower as its continues on this pathway."

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Before TIO, Harding was with Insurance Australia Group in Australia and China.

"Over the coming months I will be looking to build on the momentum that's been created within Tower, particularly in its strategic focus on delivering customer excellence and to further embed innovation as a key differentiator for the business," Harding said.

 - Stuff

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