HAMILTON, Bermuda, Jan. 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- White Mountains
Insurance Group, Ltd. (NYSE: WTM) today announced the election of Ray Barrette
as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Barrette
succeeds Jack Byrne as Chairman and Steve Fass as CEO. In addition, Mr. Byrne
retired from the Board of the Company.
Jack Byrne said, "With great regret, I must retire completely at this
time. What a wonderful adventure it has been! From the Fireman's Fund public
offering twenty two years ago to today, I cherish the confidence and support I
have received from my fellow directors, our talented managers and,
importantly, from our owners."
Mr. Byrne continued, "I have no doubt that Ray Barrette is the right
person to lead the Company going forward. In fact, Mrs. Byrne and I have
given Ray a full proxy to vote our shares. The Board is excited about Ray's
return to full time management and has great confidence in the future of the
Company under his leadership."
Jack added, "Steve has made strong contributions over many years. I asked
him to stay. I am disappointed that he has elected to retire from active
management but pleased that he will remain as a director and advisor. The
Company is in terrific shape. We finished 2006 on a strong note."
Mr. Barrette was CEO and a director of the Company until his retirement in
October 2005. He returned as a director of the Company in August 2006. Mr.
Barrette originally joined the Company in 1973.
Mr. Barrette said, "I am excited about rejoining a strong management team
and to assume leadership of the Board. I appreciate the Board's confidence
and support. I will strive to always deserve both. The Company has some
terrific opportunities and I can't wait to get started. Some tactics may
change but we remain focused on our mission of delivering superior returns to
Mr. Barrette added, "On behalf of myself, the rest of the Board, our
employees and our owners, I want to thank Jack for his dedication to this
Company for the past 22 years. All of us who have had the privilege of being
associated with Jack are humbled by his energy and talent. Thank you, Jack,
and please take care of Dorothy and yourself and enjoy a long retirement."
As a material inducement to accept his position, the Compensation
Committee and the Board of the Company approved the following equity grants to
Mr. Barrette: (1) 200,000 seven-year options that vest in equal annual
installments over five years and that have an initial exercise price of $650
per share that escalates each year by 5% less the annual regular dividend
rate, (2) 35,000 restricted shares that vest in equal annual installments over
five years, and (3) 15,000 restricted shares that vest in the event of a
change of control of the Company within the next five years. These grants are
the only equity awards that are intended to be granted to Mr. Barrette over
the next seven years.
In the event of a change in control of the Company or if Mr. Barrette is
terminated without cause, all unvested options and restricted shares will
vest. Mr. Barrette does not have an employment contract and has no other
severance arrangements with the Company.
White Mountains is a Bermuda-domiciled financial services holding company
traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the Bermuda Stock Exchange under the
symbol WTM. Additional financial information and other items of interest are
available at the Company's web site located at www.whitemountains.com.
Safe Harbor Statement Under the
Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995
The press release may contain "forward-looking statements" within the
meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934. All statements, other than statements of
historical facts, included or referenced in this release which address
activities, events or developments which we expect or anticipate will or may
occur in the future are forward-looking statements. The words "will,"
"believe," "intend," "expect," "anticipate," "project," "estimate," "predict"
and similar expressions are also intended to identify forward-looking
statements. These forward-looking statements include, among others,
statements with respect to White Mountains':
-- growth in book value per share or return on equity;
-- business strategy;
-- financial and operating targets or plans;
-- incurred losses and the adequacy of its loss and loss adjustment
expense reserves and related reinsurance;
-- projections of revenues, income (or loss), earnings (or loss) per
share, dividends, market share or other financial forecasts;
-- expansion and growth of our business and operations; and
-- future capital expenditures.
These statements are based on certain assumptions and analyses made by
White Mountains in light of its experience and perception of historical
trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other
factors believed to be appropriate in the circumstances. However, whether
actual results and developments will conform to our expectations and
predictions is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause
actual results to differ materially from expectations, including:
-- the risks associated with Item 1A of White Mountains' 2005 Annual
Report on Form 10-K and third quarter 2006 Form 10Q;
-- claims arising from catastrophic events, such as hurricanes,
earthquakes, floods or terrorist attacks;
-- the continued availability of capital and financing;
-- general economic, market or business conditions;
-- business opportunities (or lack thereof) that may be presented to it
-- competitive forces, including the conduct of other property and
casualty insurers and reinsurers;
-- changes in domestic or foreign laws or regulations, or their
interpretation, applicable to White Mountains, its competitors or its
-- an economic downturn or other economic conditions adversely affecting
its financial position;
-- recorded loss reserves subsequently proving to have been inadequate;
other factors, most of which are beyond White Mountains' control.
Consequently, all of the forward-looking statements made in this press
release are qualified by these cautionary statements, and there can be no
assurance that the actual results or developments anticipated by White
Mountains will be realized or, even if substantially realized, that they will
have the expected consequences to, or effects on, White Mountains or its
business or operations. White Mountains assumes no obligation to update
publicly any such forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new
information, future events or otherwise.
CONTACTS: Investors Media
David Foy Eric Brielmann
(203) 458-5850 (212) 355-4449
SOURCE White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd.
CONTACT: Investors, David Foy of White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd.
+1-203-458-5850, or Media, Eric Brielmann, +1-212-355-4449,
Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd./