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Zurich International Life’s top man in the Middle East defects for rival

Carlos Sabugueiro, Zurich International Life’s Dubai-based chief executive for the Middle East and Africa, has quit the role after just over a year in post.

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Carlos Sabugueiro, Zurich International Life’s (ZIL) Dubai-based chief executive for the Middle East and Africa, has quit the role after just over a year in post.

Sabugueiro, who has spent 14-and-a-half years of his career at Zurich, is to join another – as yet undisclosed – life company in the international market.

He took up the newly created Middle East CEO position in late 2008, moving from Hong Kong, where he had been regional director for Asia.

Regional ambitions
At the time, Zurich said the move underlined its ambitions for the Middle East and Africa and talked of a desire to “extend its geographical footprint” in these territories, which it described as significant to the future growth of ZIL.

Whether his departure will put a dent in these plans is unclear but Sabugueiro is not the first senior Zurich executive to leave its Middle East operations in the past six months.

In August, Martin Davis, who had been based in the Middle East as chief executive of Zurich’s emerging markets business – which sits above ZIL – left to take on the top role at Openwork, a UK-based multi-tie advisory business in which Zurich has a 25% stake. Up until 2007, Davis was chief executive of ZIL.

In an email to contacts last month, Sabugueiro spoke of seeking a “new challenge” as a reason for his surprise decision to leave the company. Beyond that, it is unclear whether any other factors were behind the move.

ZIL has an extensive presence in the Middle East, with offices in Qatar, Bahrain, and three in the UAE – Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. It offers a range of single and regular premium investment products in the region, as well as protection for individuals and businesses and an employee benefit scheme, Magnus.

ZIL did not comment.

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