Higginbotham has also been named as the regional president EMEA and member of the group executive committee.
In his new role, Higginbotham will replace Jean-Jacques Henchoz, who has decided to step down and leave the reinsurer.
He has been working for the company for 24 years in various posts across multiple business areas and geographies.
Higginbotham most recently led Swiss Re’s global Life & Health (L&H) Products Division, where he helped boost the company’s L&H solutions offering.
Earlier, he worked as CEO of Swiss Re UK & Ireland, then CEO in Australia and New Zealand and managed the company’s L&H businesses in Japan and Korea.
Chairman Walter Kielholz said: “Russell Higginbotham has a very strong track record within Swiss Re, making him the ideal candidate to continue leading the growth of our business in EMEA.
“Over the last few years, he has played a significant role in strengthening our L&H Products segment and improving its contribution to the group.”
He has also held numerous appointments outside Swiss Re, and served as a director of the Association of British Insurers and the International Underwriting Association, as well as president of the Insurance Institute of London.