Fairfax Financial Holdings, a Canada-based financial services holding company, has appointed Andrew Barnard as new president and COO, to oversee all of its insurance and reinsurance operations globally and to work with the presidents of those operations on strategy and coordination, effective 1 April 2011.

Over the past 15 years, starting with a very small reinsurance company operating only in the US, Barnard has built OdysseyRe into a large and successful worldwide reinsurance operation.

Contemporaneously on 1 April, Brian Young will become president and CEO of Fairfax’s subsidiary OdysseyRe, while Barnard moves to the role of vice chairman.

The transition is expected to be very smooth transition, as Brian is currently the COO of OdysseyRe and Barnard and Brian have worked together for 15 years.

Fairfax chairman and CEO Prem Watsa said while retaining its decentralized structure, Fairfax and the entire organization will benefit from Andy’s oversight of the extensive property and casualty operations.

"Meanwhile, at OdysseyRe, we are totally confident that Brian Young will be a worthy successor to Andy and that OdysseyRe will continue its excellent performance under his leadership," Watsa said.