FWD Group (“FWD”) today announced the appointment of Peter Grimes, currently President & Chief Executive Officer of FWD Life Philippines, as Country Chief Executive Officer for FWD’s businesses in Thailand, effective 1 January 2020, although he will continue to lead the business during the transition to the end of the year. Following this appointment, FWD Group will also appoint Li Hao Zhuang, currently Group Head of Agency Distribution, as President & Chief Executive Officer of FWD Life Philippines, effective 1 January 2020 and subject to regulatory approval.
Peter will lead FWD’s expanded Thailand business, following the recent acquisition of SCB Life Assurance, to effectively deliver on the company’s ambitions in the country. David Korunić, CEO of SCB Life and Poramasiri Manolamai, CEO of FWD Life Thailand, will both report directly to Peter, in turn, Peter will report directly to Huynh Thanh Phong, Group Chief Executive Officer. Peter will relocate to Thailand in the new year.
Li Hao will continue his role as the Head of Agency Distribution, working closely with Peter to ensure a smooth transition and handover until he relocates to Manila in January next year. Li Hao will continue to report to Binayak Dutta, Managing Director, Emerging Markets, and Group Chief Distribution Officer.
Huynh Thanh Phong, FWD’s Group Chief Executive Officer, said, “Our growth strategy has enabled us to attract and build a strong pool of talent at FWD which we aim to develop with the right opportunities across our businesses in Asia. We are extremely delighted to announce the two appointments through promotions of our in-house leaders. Both Peter and Li Hao’s on-going commitment and outstanding leadership will be integral to supporting FWD on our path of becoming a leading pan-Asian insurer that changes the way people feel about insurance.”
Peter has worked in Asia for over 30 years with 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry, demonstrating a proven track record in insurance leadership and in-depth knowledge of a number of Asian markets, including Thailand. At FWD, he initially held the role of Group Chief Partnerships Officer, and then became the CEO of FWD Life Philippines when the company was issued the first new life insurance license in the country in almost a decade in 2014. Under Peter’s leadership, FWD’s market ranking has grown to be a top ten insurer in 2019, becoming the fastest-growing life insurer in the Philippines over the last five years.
Peter said, “I am excited to take on the new role, working closely with David and Poramasiri, to ensure we further the success of FWD in Thailand. We believe there continues to be tremendous potential for growth in the market, and we will continue to commit substantial resources to deliver a best-in-class insurance experience for our customers in the country.”
Li Hao added, “Building on Peter and his team’s outstanding achievements in the Philippines, I am thrilled to take the baton to lead the fastest-growing life insurer in the market. The Philippines is an exciting, emerging market with its high-growth life insurance industry, and I look forward to being a part of FWD’s success story here.”
During Li Hao’s time as FWD’s Group Head of Agency Distribution, he developed and executed the unique and innovative Elite Agency strategy across six markets and delivered substantial growth in the number of agents and new business. Li Hao has over 25 years’ leadership experience in the financial services industry, having held a variety of senior roles at international banks and insurance companies.