Erich Walser died at the age of 67 after a brief serious illness taking him out of the midst of active, committed and successful work for Helvetia.
With his strong motivation and creative drive, Erich Walser had a profound impact on the development of Helvetia Insurance for more than 35 years. In his former capacity of Chief Executive Officer and as long-standing President of the Board of Directors, he guided Helvetia through some highly successful times.
Back in 1979, Erich Walser joined the Finance department of what was then Helvetia Fire, which soon entrusted him with various executive functions as well as duties relating to strategic planning.
In 1991, the Board of Directors appointed Erich Walser as CEO and commissioned him with the implementation of a new strategy that especially provided for the step from a non-life insurer to an all-lines group. Under the supervision of Erich Walser as CEO, the cooperation with the former Patria Life Insurance quickly intensified, resulting in the merger of the two companies to form Helvetia Patria in 1996. In the following years, this company was very successful on the market.
In 2001, Erich Walser was designated Delegate of the Board of Directors in addition to his role as CEO. At the end of 2003, he was also appointed President of the Board of Directors, a position that he held alongside his responsibilities as CEO until autumn 2007. During the time that he served as President of the Board of Directors, he impressively demonstrated his strategic skills by successfully preparing the Helvetia Group for future market developments by means of several acquisitions in Switzerland and abroad. Just a few months ago, Erich Walser announced the takeover of National Suisse – a significant merger in the Swiss insurance industry.
As far as the steady development into a flourishing European all-lines insurer is concerned, our company is especially indebted to the focus, prudence and outstanding entrepreneurial vision of Erich Walser, whose management style was characterised by great trust and respect across all hierarchy levels. It is no exaggeration to say that Erich Walser is the master builder of today’s Helvetia. With his exemplary integrity, kindness and modesty, he also contributed profoundly to our company’s corporate culture.
His extraordinary skills and great experience were also deeply appreciated by many others outside Helvetia, be it by the Swiss Insurance Association, the University of St.Gallen or within SMEs and social institutions that benefited from his creative drive. With his comprehensive knowledge, target orientation and approachability, he laid the foundations for sustainable success and established lasting relationships for the good of the economy and of society in general.
Until further notice, the duties of the Board of Directors will be supervised by Doris Russi Schurter, the Board’s Vice-President. In due time, the Board of Directors will arrange for a permanent successor.
This media release is also available on the home page www.helvetia.com/media