Internal unrest against changes to its century old culture appears to be the only threat for Europe’s biggest insurer, Allianz, and its beleaguered Chief Executive Oliver Bäte. Economically, the company is riding a wave of success.
Mr. Bäte has set out to completely overhaul the German company since he took over the top job in 2015. Yet resistance to his plans is growing at the company’s Munich headquarters and among its more than 140,000 employees. The 52-year-old, however, has received backing for his plans from the company’s employee representatives.
Mr. Bäte is trying to modernize the culture of a company that has been steeped in tradition for more than a century. Allianz is a special company, unlike any other German business. It stands for solidarity and stability. Conservative decision-making has been a staple of the insurer, but Mr. Bäte is trying to shake that up. He is setting high targets for returns, while expecting low costs and calling for a digital revolution – all at the same time.