Farewell to the Chairman

In April 2021 Walter B. Kielholz steps down as founding Chairman of the Swiss Re Foundation and hands the reins to Sergio Ermotti, the incoming Chairman of Swiss Re.

It was on the initiative of our Chairman, Walter B. Kielholz, that the Swiss Re Foundation was registered in December 2011. Since then, he has steered us on the path to becoming a strategically driven philanthropy with a focused portfolio of initiatives that strengthen resilience around the world.

Mr. Kielholz realised that integrating Swiss Re’s corporate citizenship activities under a single umbrella would increase their impact as well as their visibility. He envisioned the Swiss Re Foundation as it is today: a magnet for the expertise, creativity and financial support of Swiss Re and its employees that puts these resources to work for communities striving to build their resilience. Aware that the challenges dwarf the capacity of any single organisation to address them, Mr. Kielholz was adamant from the start that the Foundation collaborate widely and invest in ideas and approaches with the potential to unleash scalable and sustainable change.

The Swiss Re Foundation stands out in supporting not only on-the-ground programmes and relief but also research and academic institutions that are expanding knowledge about risks and how best to manage them. For example, our long-term partnership with the Zurich Center for Economic Development, spearheaded by Mr. Kielholz, has shed light on how to narrow the protection gap in rural communities and led to the development of effective hands-on interventions.

The Board of Trustees and the Swiss Re Foundation team would like to thank Mr. Kielholz – also on behalf of all the Foundation’s partners over the years – for his guidance and the commitment to humanitarianism, innovation and impact he has instilled throughout our work. We will proudly carry on his legacy.