Zurich Financial Services has appointed Markus Hongler as its new chief executive officer in charge of its Swiss business, effective from January 1, 2006.

Mr Hongler, 48, who has been with the company for 22 years, will take over from Hans-Jurg Bernet, who will retire having been CEO in Switzerland since 2001. Mr Hongler’s most recent role with the company was as CEO Global Corporate in Europe.

Markus Hongler will report to Dieter Wemmer, head of European general insurance, and will be a member of the executive committee of the European general insurance business division.

Dieter Wemmer said: Zurich Switzerland is a profitable business unit, making significant contributions to the results of the group, as well as being an important flagship for the group.

I am delighted to have been able to engage Markus Hongler for the role of CEO Switzerland. With his extensive knowledge, profound experience and management skills, he will be responsible in a next phase for the further steady development of our business in the Swiss domestic market, to achieve sustainable, profitable growth and to support me in the process of European integration.