In 1976 Denis Kessler graduated with a Diploma from Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales de Paris (HEC Business School, Paris, France). He continued his higher education by completing a postgraduate Doctorate in Economics from the University of Paris in 1978.
Denis Kessler was born on the 25th of March 1952 in Mulhouse, in the Alsace area of France. He was introduced to the insurance business in 1975 as a 23 year old during a summer internship with Tokio Marine Holding insurance Company in Japan. After his graduation from HEC, he began his career in academia.
From 1976 to 1988 he worked as a Researcher at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris, France. In 1988 he was appointed Professor at the University of Nancy II. In 1990 he was appointed Director of Studies at the prestigious École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS – School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences). Denis Kessler remained as Director of Studies at EHESS until 1997. Before leaving academia to dedicate his professional energies on a full time to the insurance business, his academic achievements were recognized by honorary degrees being awarded from both the University of Montreal, Canada and the Academy of Finance in Moscow, Russia.
After resigning from EHESS in 1997, Denis Kessler was appointed Senior Executive Vice-President and Member of the Executive Committee of the AXA Insurance Group. In 1998 he became the Senior Executive President of the Confederation of Employers in France (Mouvement des Entreprises de France MEDEF). From 1998 until 2002 he also served as the Chairman of the Federation of French insurance Companies (FFSA). In November 2002 Denis Kessler was appointed CEO and Chairman of SCOR.
As CEO of SCOR, he has overseen a series of major corporate acquisitions that have resulted in SCOR becoming one of the leading insurance companies in the world today.
Denis Kessler received recognition of his corporate achievements when he was awarded the Best Reinsurance Company CEO of the year in 2011 by his industry peers. Denis Kessler has retained a deep interest in Japan. He is fascinated by its culture, arguing that it has a complete, organized and coherent culture ranging from flowers to cooking, architecture, cinema, and literature.