Aspen CEO relocates to island

  • Relocating to Bermuda: Chris O'Kane, CEO of Aspen

Aspen Insurance is relocating its chief executive officer, from Britain to Bermuda, amid reports that the company is considering takeover bids.

The Bermudian-domiciled company is widely reported to be up for sale. Unconfirmed reports of bids from American buyout firms Apollo and Blackstone, as well as fellow Bermudian insurer Argo, have surfaced.

The Insurance Insider, a trade publication, reported that Aspen had set a June 29 deadline for final-round bids for the company.

Mr O’Kane, who has led the firm since its launch from London market roots 16 years ago, will come to Bermuda under a five-year international assignment agreement detailed in a regulatory document filed last Friday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

A spokesman for Aspen, asked about the reports of the sale process, said the company did not comment on rumours and speculation.

He described the reasons for Mr O’Kane’s relocation.

“Chris spends a considerable amount of time travelling to our various offices around the world — in particular, in Bermuda and the US — to meet with colleagues internally as well as external stakeholders including investors, analysts, clients, brokers and business partners,” the spokesman said.

“Chris has decided that a relocation to Bermuda makes perfect sense given that he will be based at our headquarters with easy access to our other office locations, particularly in the US.”

He added that a significant proportion of Aspen’s investor base and most of its investor-relations activities were located in the US.

He added that Aspen’s registered headquarters was in Bermuda and that Aspen Bermuda Ltd maintained the largest group balance sheet.

The SEC filing states that Mr O’Kane’s salary of $853,172 will be unchanged after the relocation and that his bonus potential of up to 175 per cent of base salary would also remain the same.

Other benefits for Mr O’Kane include a housing allowance up to a maximum amount of $20,000 per month, a flight allowance up to a maximum of $70,000 per year, club membership fees of $14,000 per year, a wellness benefit of $1,500 per year, a one-time relocation allowance of £10,000 ($13,360), and a continuing annual cash payment in lieu of pension benefit in the sum of £124,000 ($170,634).

Back in 2014, Aspen shareholders rejected a $49.50-per-share hostile takeover bid by Endurance Specialty Holdings. Yesterday afternoon its shares were trading at $42.72.