Chris O’Kane, the CEO of (re)insurance group Aspen, is relocating to Bermuda ahead of the potential sale of the company which could accrue him millions of dollars as part of an exit package.
Aspen has been a Bermudian domiciled company since its formation in the aftermath of 9/11, but British citizen O’Kane has remained based in the UK.
The decision to up sticks is understood to have been prompted by the executive’s extensive travel schedule, with the move across the Atlantic making it easier to bounce between offices and clients, particularly in the US.
His planned redomiciling comes only months after the group formally instigated a sale process led by Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan and, separately, a move by the Aspen Board to increase his “golden parachute” payments if the company is sold.
In March, Aspen increased the “change of control” benefits to O’Kane and group CFO Scott Kirk.
O’Kane will now receive three times his highest salary and average bonus from the last three years, up from two times previously.
Kirk also saw his entitlement increase from one-and-half times the same salary and bonus calculation to two times.
Following Aspen’s loss-making 2017, O’Kane did not receive a bonus for the year.
But in 2016 he received a $960,000 bonus and $923,103 the previous year.
In 2017 O’Kane’s reported salary was $806,992, down from $832,727 in 2016 before a fall in the value of the pound, the currency in which he earns, affected the dollar conversion. For 2015, O’Kane’s base salary was $943,107.
The company said in the related 8-K filing that it has increased the entitlement following a 2017 review by its independent compensation consultants.
Bermuda’s low tax regime means residents are not subject to income or capital gains tax but employees are subject to a sliding scale pay roll tax.
Aspen’s share price leapt 4 percent on 19 March following revelations of the change of control benefits as investors speculated it made a sale of the (re)insurer more likely.
Yesterday, re-Insurance.com revealed that The Hartford had joined other potential bidders into the second round of the sale process with bids expected by the end of June.
Aspen’s shares have performed strongly in recent months following M&A speculation and closed yesterday at $43.30, valuing the firm at around $2.6bn, but O’Kane has stressed that the company remains open to all potential options.
A spokesperson for Aspen said the company could not comment on specific staff matters.