A SENIOR boss at Zurich has made commitment to staying in Swindon for some time.

And he said if offices in the UK were closed by the financial giant then staff – or work – would be moved to the town.

Chief operating officer John Keppel was speaking on a Swindon focus webinar put on by Property Forums UK.

Talking about the company’s new headquarters Kimmerfields, Mr Keppel said: “We’ve had lots of questions about our continued desire to build a new facility under the current circumstances, but we remain committed to it, and actually see some advantages coming out of the timing.”

Mr Keppel said the central location of the building, which is right next door to the offices the company currently uses at The Tri Centre, was an advantage.

He said it was better to remain in the town centre and close to the railway station because the company had visitors from London and across the country constantly.

“We have a strong attachment with Swindon," he said. "We have been here for over 50 years, in various guises, most recently Zurich now, Hambro Life and Allied Dunbar in the past, we have been a major employer for some time.”

He admitted being unwilling to create upheaval for the company’s 1,000 internal staff who work in the town centre, with a few hundred externals staff from supplier companies also located there.

Mr Keppel added: “We have strong community links with Swindon – we run a grant-giving charity and have worked extensively with the community we’re in.

“That community and social element has weighed heavily in decision-making, I think it’s fair to say.”

Mr Keppel said when the six-storey building is completed it would allow the company to look at its property holdings in the UK post-Covid.

He said: “We are looking at the UK footprint, but knowing we have the new facility in Swindon we can make other decisions. We can potentially look at other locations, knowing we can relocate portions of staff or portions of work to our new Swindon location.”

Mr Keppel said head of town centre development Emma Gee and other staff at Swindon Borough Council were instrumental in helping the company with its desire for a new headquarters and keeping it in Swindon.

Zurich is building the new office block, but when it is finished it will be sold to the council at a cost of nearly £40 million. The authority will lease it back to Zurich, earning rental income.

Work has begun and is expected to be completed in 2022.