Qatar Re announces changes to underwriting leadership

Qatar Re announced promotions of Luke Roden and Michael van der Straaten with resignation of Alastair Speare-Cole in early February 2017.

Alastair Speare-Cole Gunther Saacke Luke Roden Michael van der Straaten Qatar Re

Qatar Re announced the promotions of Luke Roden and Michael van der Straaten to chief underwriting officer (CUO) positions. Previously they were deputy CUOs to Alastair Speare-Cole, who resigned earlier in February.


Gunther Saacke, CEO, said: “We thank Alastair for his relentless efforts during his stint at Qatar Re. Generational change in our company and the desire for a less hectic life-style have led Alastair to move on. Having served in a senior and demanding role at Qatar Re, our best wishes follow Alastair as he takes on future challenges in our industry.


On a more personal note, I remain particularly grateful to Alastair for his support of the idea to create a new and significant reinsurer that is enrooted in the Gulf countries but is rolling out a truly global franchise. Developing the initial concept for such a project as early as 2002, it has taken a decade to make it happen. Alastair remained a keen and sympathetic observer of this initiative during those years and he was welcomed when he offered to join us for a period as CUO, helping to manage what in the meantime had become Qatar Re.”


Turning to the promotions of Luke Roden and Michael van der Straaten, Saacke continued: “I am delighted to announce the promotions of Luke and Mike to lead our underwriting function. Luke has been an ever-present figure in Qatar Re and is one of our longest-serving team members. He has served on our executive management committee since the company redomiciled to Bermuda in 2015 and has experience across Qatar Re that provides an invaluable base for this leadership role. Mike joined our team late in 2016, further strengthening Qatar Re’s underwriting management. His appointment reflects our ambition to continue to profitably grow our franchise during challenging market conditions. Mike has already made a great impact, drawing on his extensive professional experience, relationships and aptitude for analytics.”


Luke Roden has been appointed CUO – short tail classes and also retains his role as head of Ceded Re. He will remain a member of our executive management committee. Luke has a track record of developing and maintaining large, profitable portfolios of treaty reinsurance business over the last 24 years and has been central to the development of Qatar Re since he joined in 2012. He has lived and worked in North America, Europe, Bermuda and the Middle East during his career.


Michael van der Straaten has been appointed CUO – long tail & speciality classes and will join our executive management committee, subject to regulatory approval. Michael began his career in Lloyd’s as a box manager and non-marine property treaty underwriter. He joined Qatar Re in December 2016 from ACE Tempest Re where he held the role of deputy head of London and head of casualty, overseeing the development of their international casualty and motor business. Prior to this, Michael held various underwriting positions with a primary focus on casualty lines alongside wider management responsibilities.