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Sunday 24 September 2017

RSA's Irish division chief has quit

Philip Smith said inquiries into his handling of the company's affairs were flawed and pre-determined
Philip Smith said inquiries into his handling of the company's affairs were flawed and pre-determined

The head of the Irish division of insurance giant RSA has resigned.

Philip Smith has quit the company claiming he has been made the fall guy after a routine internal audit uncovered issues which led to a £70 million (84 million euro) hit on profits.

The RSA head office in London confirmed it had received Mr Smith's resignation letter.

Mr Smith said inquiries into his handling of the company's affairs were flawed and pre-determined.

The Central Bank of Ireland launched an investigation into RSA's Irish claims and finance functions earlier this month after the audit was reported.

Mr Smith was suspended from his role as chief executive along with chief financial officer Rory O'Connor and claims director Peter Burke pending the outcome of the probe.

He took up his role in 2007 and just two months ago was appointed group director for global brokers.

In a statement issued on behalf of Mr Smith, he said both he and his family have been traumatised by the controversy and that he was resigning in the interests of his family.

"Resigning not only eases the stress and strain on them, but also offers me the opportunity to pursue justice outside the current flawed process which I am certain was established to arrive at a pre-determined outcome," he said.

Mr Smith said he has always acted to the best of his professional judgment and integrity.

"Throughout my time as chief executive officer, RSA in Ireland has been lauded for its strong regulatory and control environment with consistently favourable outcomes achieved in all internal and external audits," he said.

"I am certain that when the recent issues arose, that I quickly became the fall-guy for all issues. It is my firm belief that this opinion was arrived at irrespective of my involvement or otherwise, making it impossible for me to achieve justice and fairness. I have therefore been left with no other option but to resign."

The RSA Group said Mr Smith's resignation is effective immediately.

The company also said that no severance payment has been made to their former Irish chief.

"We continue to work constructively with the Central Bank of Ireland on this investigation," the company said.

RSA said Adrian Brown, currently the chief executive for UK and Western Europe, will continue to act as the Irish chief executive in the interim.

"No policy holders have been affected and RSA Ireland's business continues to operate as normal," the company said.

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