Can Migdal’s new CEO restore its glory?



After weeks of hypothesis, the board of administrators of Migdal Insurance and Financial Holdings Ltd. (TASE: MGDL) selected Sunday on the id of the corporate’s new CEO: Ran Oz, chairman of bank card firm CAL-Israel Credit score Playing cards, which is managed by Israel Discount Bank (TASE: DSCT), will change Doron Sapir, who in his earlier job was CEO of CAL. Sapir determined to go away Migdal shortly after its earlier chairman Oded Sarig left due to his deteriorating relationship with Migdal controlling shareholder Shlomo Eliahu and was changed earlier this yr by Nir Gilad.

Yesterday night, Migdal introduced that Sapir would depart the group on July 1, and that within the interval between his departure and Ouncess arrival, Joseph (Yossi) Ben Baruch, the group’s CFO and supervisor of its monetary division, would function appearing CEO of Migdal Insurance coverage. Earlier than his present put up, Ben Baruch was CEO of the group’s funding home, Migdal Capital Markets.

When the appointment was introduced, Ouncespresumably acquired heat congratulations from colleagues and associates, as is common on these events. It’s not unlikely, nonetheless, that he additionally heard questions on why he had chosen to go to an organization that, ever because it handed to Eliahu’s management, has undergone many personnel adjustments on the prime, with managers discovering their model cramped, a problem that Ounceswill in all probability face as effectively, significantly as Gilad has acquired a popularity as a centralizing and strongly opinionated chairman who concentrates quite a lot of energy in his personal palms.

All the identical, for all of the piquancy surrounding relations with the proprietor, who has changed chairpersons and CEOs a number of occasions since taking management of Migdal, Ouncess problem there will likely be larger than getting together with him and the chairman.

Within the not-too-distant previous, Migdal was the undisputed chief of Israel’s insurance coverage trade. Its administration was thought-about authoritative on the whole lot to do with insurance coverage, significantly on the corporate’s most vital enterprise, specifically pensions. It was seen as an exporter of managers and revolutionary merchandise to the whole insurance coverage sector. That’s not the case at the moment.

Migdal has a present market cap of NIS three.93 billion, decrease than that of Harel Insurance Investments and Financial Services Ltd. (TASE: HARL) (NIS 5.83 billion) and ofThe Phoenix Holdings Ltd. (TASE: PHOE1;PHOE5) (NIS 5.56 billion). The truth is, Migdal’s market cap is nearer to that of Menorah Mivtachim Holdings Ltd. (TASE: MORA) (NIS three.three billion) and of Clal Insurance Enterprises Holdings Ltd. (TASE: CLIS) (NIS three.2 billion), the primary of which was a lot smaller than Migdal within the latest previous, and the second of which has, like Migdal, undergone a marked deterioration in its standing up to now few years. Furthermore, at its peak, in March 2010, Migdal had an adjusted market cap of NIS eight.625 billion, greater than double its market cap at the moment. By the way, when Eliahu acquired management of Migdal, at a reduction in the marketplace worth, it was traded at a market cap of NIS 5.51 billion.

Migdal has misplaced its undisputed standing as the most important insurance coverage firm when it comes to premiums, pension contributions and earnings, partly due to exogenous elements, but additionally due to administration errors, corresponding to had been made just a few years in the past within the pensions market.

Nonetheless, Migdal remains to be the insurance coverage firm with the most important whole of property underneath administration in Israel. It has a longstanding insurance coverage portfolio that would yield large earnings with supportive rates of interest and capital markets. Migdal additionally owns the most important distribution arm available in the market, with among the largest and most outstanding insurance coverage brokers within the nation. It’s thus able to regaining its dominance. To take action, it wants good administration, and luck.

In appointing Oz, Migdal has for a second successive time gone for an appointee from exterior the corporate with expertise in monetary administration within the broad sense, however none within the core insurance coverage enterprise.

Over the previous few months, Gilad, who was previously a senior supervisor at Migdal, primarily chargeable for funding and technique, has sought a successor to Sapir. The evaluation within the insurance coverage market was that the appointment was delayed as a result of the candidates needed clear demarcation of the function so as to guarantee freedom of administration. Gilad has now discovered an applicable supervisor with popularity, whom some even name “a expertise”, somebody who is aware of the best way to handle and has broad understanding of finance, however who is just not an insurance coverage particular person conversant in the brokers, for instance, or the regulation distinctive to the trade.



That is Ouncess first appointment as CEO of a enterprise group in his profession, after filling senior administration roles in a number of giant enterprises. So far as he’s involved, he’s coming to Migdal to do what Lilach Asher-Topilsky has managed to do at Low cost Financial institution – to take over as CEO of an uninviting group and to succeed there within the face of skepticism available in the market concerning the possibilities of that occuring.

At any charge, the state of affairs is that Migdal is owned by an insurance coverage trade veteran who grew up primarily typically insurance coverage, and whom the regulator doesn’t wish to see concerned in day-to-day administration of the insurance coverage firm he controls, which is especially depending on life insurance coverage, and it’ll very quickly be managed by two people who find themselves not insurance coverage individuals within the full sense: chairman Gilad, who was a senior supervisor at Migdal, CEO of Israel Corporation (TASE: ILCO), and Accountant Common within the Ministry of Finance; and Oz, who comes from a background in monetary management in lots of firms and who turned a senior finance particular person throughout his years at Low cost Financial institution.

Migdal is just not hiding what it expects from Oz. In its announcement of his appointment it mentions that within the firms at which Ouncesworked up to now he led “turnarounds”, acquisitions and mergers, investments, the constructing of enterprise infrastructures, and progress methods yielding worth to shareholders. Eliahu added that, so far as he was involved, Ounceswas chosen “to guide and handle Migdal within the coming years, by which Migdal ought to set up its management within the insurance coverage trade, in all areas of its enterprise.” Eliahu thus alluded to the erosion in Migdal’s relative standing within the insurance coverage market.

Eliahu purchased management of Migdal in late 2012, and he has not hidden his dissatisfaction with the group’s outcomes since. Earlier than Sapir, Migdal was run by Eliahu’s son Ofer Eliahu, who additionally left the put up due to tensions along with his father, who needed to see a fast transformation within the outcomes of the corporate he controls.

Migdal is searching for new progress engines, in credit score, amongst different areas. Outgoing CEO Sapir, who overlapped with Ouncesfor a short while at CAL, marked this as an vital space for the corporate. Really, about twelve years in the past we wrote that Migdal was meaning to enter the buyer credit score enterprise by way of collaboration with one of many bank card firms or buyer golf equipment with bank cards hooked up, and it even held talks on buying a stake in Leumi Card, however these didn’t come to fruition.

This will likely effectively turn into an vital consolation zone for Ounceswhen he takes up the CEO put up. No date for this has but been set, for the reason that appointment is dependent upon the consent of the Commissioner of Capital Markets, Insurance coverage and Financial savings Insurance coverage, which is anticipated to be forthcoming.

Revealed by Globes, Israel enterprise information – en.globes.co.il – on June 18, 2019

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