White Mountains Insurance Group ( WTM) named Ray Barrette as the company's new chairman and chief executive, effective immediately.

Barrette succeeds Jack Byrne, who was elected as White Mountains' chairman in May 2006, and Steve Fass, who has served as the president and CEO since October 2005.

While Fass will continue to act as a director and adviser to White Mountains, Byrne will retire completely.

Barrette's new position marks his return to the full-time management team at White Mountains. After retiring as the company's director and CEO in October 2005, Barrette returned in August 2006 as a director.

"I have no doubt that Ray Barrette is the right person to lead the company going forward," Byrne said in a statement. "The board is excited about Ray's return to full-time management and has great confidence in the future of the company under his leadership."

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