Susan Comparato is a high-impact, agile executive with demonstrated success leading public, subsidiary, and IPO financial services/insurance companies. She has a notable track record driving the growth of new businesses and restructuring and transforming companies during economic downturns. Susan is skilled at leading cohesive, motivated cross-functional teams, and building trusted relationships with key stakeholders – regulators, boards, shareholders, customers, and colleagues. She has played a key role in presenting, negotiating, and resolving complex issues with boards and executive teams.
Susan is currently Chief Administrative Officer of Argo Group (NYSE: ARGO), a Bermuda-based underwriter of specialty insurance products in the property and casualty market. She oversees human resources, global business services, innovation, communication and enterprise security. She is also the executive sponsor of Argo Group’s diversity and inclusion program. Prior to her CAO role, Susan served as Argo’s US General Counsel and managed a portfolio of Argo’s US business lines. During her tenure she has reorganized multiple teams and functions with a focus on improving talent, process, technology and business partnership. Susan also led the creation of a new insurance program involving insurance backed by intellectual property.
Prior to this, Susan was CEO, President, and Board Director at Syncora Holdings Ltd, a monoline financial guarantee insurer. During her tenure at Syncora, Susan led the company through start-up, growth, capital raising, restructuring, and turnaround business cycles. Her many achievements include effectively avoiding the regulatory takeover of the business and preserving stakeholder value when Syncora was experiencing a surplus deficit of $4B~ and developing and leading an investment vehicle focused on investments in financial services and fintech growth-equity stage companies (with completion of six investments totaling $26M). Susan also identified and implemented changes to improve efficiencies and effectiveness of Syncora’s entire operations, which led to multiple restructuring and remediation transactions, and de-risking of insured par outstanding from $265B to $20B. As CEO and a member of Syncora’s large board of directors, Susan was instrumental in working with the board to evaluate and make decisions on complex, high-risk transactions. Susan was also General Counsel for Syncora Holdings for almost two years.
Susan also served as General Counsel and Managing Director for Syncora Guarantee Inc., where she was the lead attorney for the company’s spin-off from XL Capital, playing an instrumental role in Syncora’s transition to a public holding company. She first joined Syncora Guarantee as Associate General Counsel when the company was a start-up and was key to developing the legal department to handle a significant volume of complex US and international transactions during a period of tremendous growth.
Previously, Susan was with Barclays Capital, Inc., as Associate Director, Risk Finance, where she specialized in structured transactions. Susan began her career as an Associate, Securitization with Sidley Austin LLP (formerly Brown & Wood LLP), representing underwriters in a wide range of securitization transactions.
Susan earned a Juris Doctor from William & Mary Law School, where she was Managing Editor, Administrative Law Review. She received a BS in Finance from the School of Business Administration at Georgetown University, graduating magna cum laude.
Susan is a former board member of DBRS Inc., a globally recognized provider of credit rating opinions. She was also the former Treasurer and Director of the Association of Financial Guaranty Insurers.
- In-depth experience in C-suite executive operational and legal leadership positions steering financial services organizations through diverse business situations and economic cycles. Leader who responds to business challenges and resolves complex issues with confidence, focus, and grit, while instilling positivity and harmony.
CREDIT/ DERIVATIVES /STRUCTURED PRODUCTS
- Extensive experience across a broad range of structured product offerings, derivatives, and related credit instruments. Experience in developing and executing on transactions as well as creating and implementing solutions for troubled transactions. Susan also served as a board member of DBRS, a globally recognized provider of credit rating opinions.
- Several significant restructuring transactions occurred under Susan’s leadership, including company-wide restructuring efforts which dramatically reduced Syncora’s asset-backed and direct residential mortgage backed securities exposure (2009), and a comprehensive transaction resulting in a liquidity event for stakeholders, substantial de-levering of the capital structure and financial and operating stability for Syncora (2016). Provided legal and operational advice during Syncora’s spin-off from XL Capital and IPO and transition from a wholly-owned subsidiary of a large public company to a stand-alone NYSE-registered public company.
- Implemented numerous changes during her tenure with Syncora including reengineering the business model during the financial crisis, with significant improvements to credit review, risk management, IT systems, claims processing, and financial and board reporting. Structured and executed on various leadership and board changes including revisions to board and committee structure.
BOARD/CORPORATE GOVERNANCE EXPERIENCE
- As CEO, President, and fellow board member, worked with Syncora’s large board of directors during lengthy and complex restructurings to provide them with appropriate information, lead robust discussions, and guide them to strong decisions consistent with their fiduciary duties. Managed several board transitions including appointments by interested stakeholders, activist hedge funds, and creditors. Also served as a board member of DBRS Inc., DBRS Limited, and DBRS Mexico, and Treasurer and Director of the Association of Financial Guaranty Insurers.
LEGAL/REGULATORY SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT
- Extensive experience in securities law, corporate governance, litigation, employment law, capital raising and general corporate matters. Fostered and maintained strong relationships with international, federal, and state regulators, enabling companies to address their challenges and execute on their strategic plans.