read more: UK CEO takes leave, interim CEO announced
The news comes nearly two months after Wilson returns to the UK as chief executive in September 2022, after taking a leave of absence for treatment for a rare blood cancer. In a press release, Britt noted that by stepping down as CEO, he will be able to prioritize his health and spend more time with his family.
Wilson first joined Brit in 1999, became Group Chief Executive Officer in 2018, and is credited with playing a key role in creating its inclusive, innovative and underwriting-centric culture – culminating in founding at Lloyd’s Ki The first algorithm to underwrite syndicates. A passionate advocate for Lloyd’s, he also serves on the LMA Board of Directors from 2011 to 2022.
Thompson, who was named interim group chief executive during Wilson’s sabbatical, is again serving as a seasoned leader in the insurance industry, having served as president and chief executive of RSA Canada before joining the Fairfax Group in 2021.
Commenting on his decision to step down as chief executive, Wilson said it was one of the toughest decisions he had to make during his 23 years at the UK firm.
“No one is more determined to stay on as CEO, but it is with great regret that I have chosen to step down so that I can focus on my family and my health,” he said. “Brit is a truly special company, but what makes it so special is its amazing people. I will miss each and every one of them.”
Wilson said it was Brit’s team that gave him confidence in his future, and he was sure its culture would ensure the company continued to lead “in who we are and what we do.” He added that he was delighted to remain at Fairfax Group, and while he was leaving the Briton, he would remain the company’s greatest champion.
Prem Watsa, chairman and chief executive of Fairfax Financial Holdings, cited Wilson’s role in driving the Briton’s reputation for forward-looking and inclusiveness, saying he had left “lasting success across the organisation” heritage”.
“He will always be a friend of Britons,” he said, “and I am delighted that we will benefit from his insight as Fairfax’s executive advisory director.”
Watsa added: “Martin is an outstanding insurance industry leader and last year when Matthew asked to be interim CEO for such a short period of time, Martin proved that, ensuring stability and allowing Brit to stay focused. His great knowledge of the company, people and culture, coupled with his leadership skills, means we can take over and find the right CEO to take Britons forward.”
Thompson also commented on the news, saying: “It is an honour to succeed Matthew as CEO. Having spent a year experiencing British culture and getting to know its talented people, I know how unique it is Matthew’s departure is a sad time for Britt, but he leaves a company in great shape. I’m excited about our potential and what we have to achieve.”