Group News

Wilm Langenbach: An international team player

“International business has fascinated me from an early age”, says Wilm Langenbach. “Be it the international credit business during my banking apprenticeship in Münster and Düsseldorf or later on in Hong Kong, or financial control at Bayer Hispania S.A. in Barcelona – I always found working in an international context and being open for new ideas and new things exciting.” These traits will also stand him in good stead in his new role: with effect from 1 December 2020, Wilm Langenbach will become a member of Talanx AG’s Board of Management with responsibility for the Retail International Division and Chairman of the Board of Management of HDI International AG.


His future area of activity is the global retail business, which stretches from Chile, Mexico and Brazil through Italy and Hungary to Poland and Turkey. The division for which he will be responsible as from December has roughly 8,000 employees and generated a premium volume of EUR 6.1 billion and net income of EUR 164 million in 2019.

Wilm Langenbach knows most of the markets concerned well: he developed AXA’s international growth markets in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America over the past five years, most recently as CEO of AXA Mediterranean Holding, and CFO of AXA International and New Markets. “Expanding business in growth markets gives me great pleasure.” Working together with his team colleagues in Madrid and in particular in the foreign affiliates, he developed the business into the AXA Group’s fastest-growing unit in the period since 2016. “That's why I’m glad to have the opportunity of being part of the Talanx team in future. The Talanx Group is well positioned internationally and aims to continue investing in this area – a good basis for future profitable growth in the emerging markets. Talanx’s decentralised entrepreneurial culture is another thing that attracts me. It is based on a mix of trust, transparency and a rigorous approach.” This makes him very happy to be part of such a working environment in future, he says.

There has always been an international dimension to Wilm Langenbach’s successful 25-year career, more than 20 years of which have been spent in the insurance industry. He speaks English, French and Spanish in addition to German, studied business administration in Germany, the USA and France, obtained a doctorate from the WHU in Koblenz and worked for McKinsey & Co., Inc. He worked for international insurance groups from the very beginning as well as for medium-sized insurers, focusing in particular on developing and establishing businesses. He switched to AXA in order to take on even more entrepreneurial responsibility.

His goal in the first weeks and months is to get to know the Talanx Group as well as possible. In particular, he wants to talk with his future colleagues in the individual countries, listen hard and gather impressions before defining a joint approach for the future on the basis of these discussions. In normal circumstances he would have loved to have met his colleagues in person where they work. “I like visiting local markets because that’s where the business is done. And the unbelievable energy radiated by people in the growth markets motivates me, too.”

However, the coronavirus pandemic has made this impossible to start with: the future HDI International CEO has to restrict his travel significantly and will only be able to talk to many colleagues via videoconferences. “That works well, but videoconferences still can’t replace face discussions. I like people. And you only really get to know them if you see and experience their surroundings. I intend to catch up on this later.”

The 49-year-old father of three sees the coronavirus as both a challenge and an opportunity. A challenge because the crisis is doing unprecedented damage to people and economies worldwide and is continuing to cause volatility. An opportunity because a lot of things need rethinking – travel, management, personal relationships, business models, products and services. “As an insurance company, we also have to prove ourselves and add value for our clients in this challenging situation. And we shall also have to speed up our digital transformation even further”, said Wilm Langenbach.

This is another reason why he is looking forward to working with his new team. “I like to develop people, teams and ultimately companies.” To do this, he says he takes a close look at which skills his team already has and which they may still have to acquire. And while he trusts people a lot, transparency is also important. In his opinion this is the only way to be successful as a team and overcome unexpected challenges better and faster. “And you can also achieve and celebrate success much better as part of a team.”


This news release contains forward-looking statements which are based on certain assumptions, expectations and opinions of the Talanx AG management. These statements are, therefore, subject to certain known or unknown risks and uncertainties. A variety of factors, many of which are beyond Talanx AG’s control, affect Talanx AG’s business activities, business strategy, results, performance and achievements. Should one or more of these factors or risks or uncertainties materialise, actual results, performance or achievements of Talanx AG may vary materially from those expressed or implied in the relevant forward-looking statement. Talanx AG does not guarantee that the assumptions underlying such forward-looking statements are free from errors nor does Talanx AG accept any responsibility for the actual occurrence of the forecasted developments. Talanx AG neither intends, nor assumes any obligation, to update or revise these forward-looking statements in light of developments which differ from those anticipated.