Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. hired Ric Pena from Zurich Insurance Group AG as vice president of a newly created energy practice in a push to expand operations under Chief Executive Officer Chris Swift.

Pena will be based in Frisco, Texas, and report to Tom Boudreau, head of construction and energy insurance, the Hartford, Connecticut-based company said Tuesday in a statement. Pena formerly led Zurich’s energy-casualty business unit, Hartford said.

“Our presence in the energy sector previously was in renewable energy, so with this announcement we are expanding the energy practice to include power and utilities as an initial focus,” Tom Hambrick, a company spokesman, said in an e-mail.

Swift became Hartford’s CEO in 2014 and said last year that the insurer should be more “offensive-minded” after selling some units. Hartford agreed last month to buy Georgia-based commercial insurer Maxum Specialty Insurance Group in what would be Swift’s first acquisition as CEO.

Executives have been leaving Zurich, Switzerland’s biggest insurer, as it plans to cut as many as 8,000 jobs by the end of 2018. Michael Kerner, who led the general-insurance unit, and Charles Higham, head of North American financial institutions, departed for Everest Re Group Ltd. this year. Peter McCarron, a senior vice president, was hired by CNA Financial Corp. in January.

To contact the reporter on this story: Emma Orr in New York at eorr6@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net, Dan Reichl, Steven Crabill

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