LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Board of Directors of Willis Group Holdings (NYSE: WSH), the global insurance broker, today announced that Dominic Casserley will serve as the company’s next Chief Executive Officer, effective January 7, 2013. The Board also announced that Steve Hearn, currently the Chairman and CEO of Willis Global, will serve as Deputy CEO of Willis Group. Joe Plumeri, who has served as Chairman and CEO of Willis Group since 2000 and led the company back to public ownership and steered its global expansion during his 12-year tenure, will serve as non-executive Chairman through July, 2013.
Dominic Casserley, 54, is currently a senior partner of McKinsey & Company, which he joined in New York in 1983. During his 29-years at McKinsey, Casserley has been based in the U.S. for 12 years, Asia for five and, since 2000, has been working across Europe from London. During his time at McKinsey, Casserley led the firm’s Greater China Practice and its UK and Ireland Practice. A noted expert on global financial services, including insurance companies, and the opportunities of expanding into new markets, Casserley has been a member of McKinsey’s Shareholder Council, the firm’s global board, since 1999 and for four years served as the Chairman of the Finance Committee of that board. Casserley, married with three children, is a graduate of Cambridge University. Following a transition period in 2013, Casserley will be based in Willis’ New York office.
“The Board of Directors, which has now concluded a rigorous and thorough search for our next CEO, is thrilled to welcome Dominic Casserley to Willis to inaugurate the next great era for our company. We think Dominic will be an extraordinary leader for Willis, just as Joe Plumeri has been,” said Sen. Bill Bradley, Managing Director of Allen & Co. LLC and Willis’ presiding independent director. “Willis is indebted to Joe for his passionate stewardship of our firm spanning more than a decade in which Willis delivered unrivaled shareholder value among our peers. We are also grateful that Steve Hearn, a great broking industry leader within our own ranks, will step up as Dominic’s partner and Deputy CEO to help bring Willis to the next level,” Bradley added.
“I am honored by the confidence the Board has placed in me and look forward to working with Joe, Steve, Vic Krauze, Tim Wright and our accomplished management team to build on the foundation that Willis has established in every corner of the world,” Dominic Casserley said. “I have observed over 30 years as governments, businesses and organizations that operate across borders have become increasingly interconnected. Managing their risks is more complex than ever, but Willis consistently demonstrates how to do it right. I believe the opportunities in front of Willis are enormous, and I am very excited to be joining the team at this critical time.”
Steve Hearn, 46, joined Willis as Chairman and CEO of Glencairn Limited, the third-party wholesale brokerage business that Willis acquired through its $2.1 billion acquisition of Hilb Rogal & Hobbs (HRH) in 2008. Hearn’s influence at Willis has grown steadily since the HRH acquisition, continuing with his appointment as CEO of Willis Re in February, 2011. In January 2012, Hearn was appointed Chairman and CEO of Willis Global, encompassing the company’s global reinsurance, placement and specialty operations. Hearn will continue in that role in addition to his Deputy CEO post.
“I have worked as an insurance broker all of my professional career, but never enjoyed it more than the last four years as a Willis Associate,” Steve Hearn said. “Across geographies and across functions, whether in retail, reinsurance, specialisms or placement, there is no company that combines the human talent that Willis has assembled. I am looking forward tremendously to working with Dominic to build on the extraordinary foundation that Joe has put in place, and am personally grateful for the opportunities that Joe has given me and so many other people at this fine company,” Hearn added.
Joe Plumeri, 69, joined Willis as Chairman and CEO 12 years ago, on October 15, 2000, following a 32 year career with Citigroup, Inc. and its predecessors. Willis in 2000 was owned by private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), but Plumeri successfully engineered an initial public offering within a year. From that 2001 IPO through the end of September 2012, Willis’ share price has risen 174% outperforming, by a wide margin, the company’s closest competitors, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the S&P average of insurance stocks.
During his 12-year tenure, Plumeri successfully navigated Willis through a series of challenges that faced both the company and the insurance industry as a whole.
- Willis’ IPO in June 2001, priced at $13.50 per share, represented a confident return to public ownership following three years as a privately held company.
- Just months after Willis’ 2001 initial public offering, the attack on the World Trade Center, a Willis client then and now, represented a monumental challenge in securing insurance coverage and insurance carrier confidence to rebuild the site.
- In 2004-2005, amid a broad investigation of the industry by the New York Attorney General, Willis led the response among the world’s largest brokers by disavowing contingent commissions and establishing the industry’s first Client Bill of Rights.
- Throughout the last decade, Willis has helped to develop the Chinese insurance market. It was the first global broker to receive a license to operate there and, remaining the largest, established its 22nd office in China in the summer of 2012.
- In 2008, with the world facing a financial crisis, Willis continued its expansion in Asia, Europe and Latin America, and effectively doubled Willis’ footprint in North America with its $2.1 billion acquisition of Hilb Rogal & Hobbs (HRH).
- With its brand on its Norman Foster-designed skyscraper in London and the iconic Willis Tower in Chicago, the tallest building in North America, Willis has cemented its name as a leader in insurance risk management across the globe.
For his role in guiding Willis toward its current position of prominence, Plumeri was named, among many other honors, “The Insurance Leader of the Year” in 2006 by St. John’s University and among “The 100 Most Influential People in Finance” by Treasury & Risk Magazine in 2009 and 2010. Plumeri’s legacy at Willis is marked by a passion for client service and the company’s commitment to integrity and transparency.
“I am proud beyond words of our company’s achievements seizing on opportunities and confronting challenges spanning a dozen years,” Plumeri said. “But I’m equally excited about the path ahead for Willis under the leadership of Dominic Casserley and Steve Hearn and our outstanding team of leaders and the 17,000 Associates around the world. In the past and in the future, it is our people who provide expertise, uphold our values and put a human face on The Willis Cause for every one of our clients,” Plumeri added.
Bill Bradley added: “In January, Dominic will assume leadership of a strong company with 184 years of history and a heritage of always putting its clients first. Dominic and Steve embrace our past and will add their own stamp as Willis moves ahead ambitiously on a global scale. Twelve years ago, when Joe Plumeri arrived at Willis’ office at Ten Trinity Square in London, it was a much smaller company and a very different world. Joe put a new roof over Willis with our building on Lime Street and gave the Willis brand new meaning with the renaming of the Willis Tower in Chicago. But in a larger sense, Joe’s unswerving belief that ‘Anything is Possible’ has propelled Willis toward global leadership in insurance broking and risk advice that has marked our record for the last decade and will serve the company well in the years ahead.”
About Willis Group Holdings
Willis Group Holdings plc is a leading global insurance broker. Through its subsidiaries, Willis develops and delivers professional insurance, reinsurance, risk management, financial and human resource consulting and actuarial services to corporations, public entities and institutions around the world. Willis has more than 400 offices in nearly 120 countries, with a global team of approximately 17,000 employees serving clients in virtually every part of the world. Additional information on Willis may be found at www.willis.com.
Notes to Editors:
1. Photos of Joe Plumeri, Dominic Casserley and Steve Hearn are available on request from the Willis media relations team.
2. Dominic Casserley Biography
On October 16, 2012, the Willis Group Holdings Board of Directors elected Dominic Casserley as the firm’s Chief Executive Officer, effective January 7, 2013.
Casserley comes to Willis following a 29 year career at McKinsey & Company, the leading global management consulting firm. During his three decades at McKinsey, Casserley was based in the United States from 1983 to 1994; was based in Asia from 1995 to 1999; and was based in London from 2000 through 2012.
Casserley’s career at McKinsey focused on two areas: serving the needs of clients that comprised leading financial services companies around the world, and, along with his colleagues, helping to build McKinsey, one of the world’s leading professional services firms.
Casserley’s work serving leading financial services companies focused on addressing their strategic, organizational, operational and technology issues so that they could better serve their clients. While based in the United States he focused on serving a range of banking and insurance companies dealing with the opportunities and challenges of deregulation, growing globalization and new technology. After he left the U.S., Casserley’s clients included leading banks and insurers in the Asia and the UK. During his tenure as head of McKinsey’s European Banking Practice, the firm’s largest industry practice, between 2000 and 2003, it expanded significantly into Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East. At the time of his departure from McKinsey, he led the firm’s Corporate & Investment banking practice globally.
Casserley’s work has extended significantly beyond direct client work. He is the author of two books on financial services. He advised business leaders of the former UK Prime Minister’s Business Council for Britain and served on the UK’s Confederation of British Industry (CBI) CEO Climate Change Taskforce. While based in the U.S., Casserley also worked on the Presidential Task Force on Market Mechanisms in 1987 (The Brady Commission) during the Administration of Ronald Reagan.
A primary focus of Casserley’s recent work before joining Willis was helping to manage and grow McKinsey, one of the world’s preeminent professional services firms. He served as a member of the McKinsey Shareholders Council, the firm’s global board, since 1999, including four years Chairman of the Finance & Infrastructure Committee which oversees McKinsey’s global finances, information technology and global internal and external audit for the firm which has more than 90 offices in more than 50 countries.
While in Asia from 1995-1999, Casserley led the firm’s offices in Greater China. He opened McKinsey’s offices in Shanghai and Beijing from its original base in Hong Kong and further grew the Taipei location. Later, he helped to open additional McKinsey offices in Southeast Asia, including Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Singapore. Beginning in 2000, Casserley was based in the United Kingdom. From 2003 until 2010, he was McKinsey’s Managing Partner in London, responsible for the firm’s offices in London and Dublin.
Casserley is a 1979 graduate of Cambridge University. He is married with three children. After a transition period in 2013, when he will be based in London, Casserley will be based at Willis’ office in New York City.
3. Steve Hearn Biography
Steve was appointed Chairman and CEO of Willis Global in 2011 and effective January 2013 will become Deputy CEO of Willis Group Holdings.
As Chairman and CEO of Willis Global, Steve is responsible for Willis’ wholesale, specialist brokerage and consulting services including Willis Re, Willis Global Specialties, Willis Faber & Dumas, Willis Global Analytics, Willis Global Solutions and Willis Global Placement.
In early 2011 Steve was appointed as CEO of Willis Re, where he was responsible for Willis Re’s worldwide operations. From 2009 until 2011 he led Faber & Dumas, Global Markets International and Willis Facultative.
Since joining Willis in 2008 as a result of the HRH acquisition by Willis Group, Steve has served as Chairman of Special Contingency Risk (SCR), the Willis specialty Kidnap & Ransom broker, Chairman of Willis Facultative and Chairman and CEO of Glencairn Limited, a London wholesale broker. He is CEO of Willis Limited, the Group’s principal UK regulated entity.
Prior to joining HRH, Steve was at Glencairn Limited. Following the company’s management buy-out from Glenrand MIB he was appointed CEO in 2003. His team created one of the most successful mid-tier London Market broking firms of that time. In 2005 he became Chairman & CEO of Glencairn Group Limited, comprising operations in London, Bermuda, Moscow, Brisbane and Johannesburg. He led the three-man team that sold the business to U.S. broking group HRH in 2007.
Earlier in his career Steve was President & CEO of Marsh Affinity Europe, responsible for their Affinity operations in 13 countries and a staff of 1,000. Prior to this he held a number of positions in client management, sales and P&L management at Marsh and Sedgwick Limited, including time in U.K. Commercial Lines Retail, Life & Pensions and, latterly, scheme and affinity business.
He is a member of both the Willis Group’s Operating and Executive Committees, the senior management team setting and executing Willis’ global strategy.
4. Joe Plumeri Biography
Joe Plumeri is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Willis Group Holdings plc. Under Joe’s leadership, Willis has strengthened its position as one of the world’s leading insurance brokers through sector-leading organic growth and operating margins, strategic expansion, a dedication to transparency and passionate client service. Appointed in October 2000, when Willis was privately owned by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, he successfully returned the company to public ownership in 2001. In 2008, he spearheaded Willis’ $2.1 billion acquisition of Hilb Rogal & Hobbs (HRH), one of the largest insurance brokerage deals of the last decade.
During his tenure, Joe has cultivated a One Flag culture of teamwork centered on the Willis Client Advocate® model and Glocal service, delivering the breadth of Willis’ global expertise through more than 400 local offices in nearly 120 countries. Those offices include The Willis Building in London, opened in 2008, and Willis Tower in Chicago (formerly known as Sears Tower), which was renamed in 2009. Willis Tower is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
Joe has been a leader in the insurance industry in an era of unprecedented change. Over the last decade, he has pressed for greater transparency, client service and innovation throughout the industry. He has led the fight against contingent commissions, the controversial year-end bonuses insurance companies pay brokers for increasing premium volume and profitability – payments which can lead to conflicts of interest. In 2004, Willis published its ground-breaking Client Bill of Rights and in 2010 further crystallized its commitment to service in The Willis Cause, a concise articulation of what it means to be the world’s greatest insurance broker and risk adviser.
In recognition of these efforts, St. John’s University School of Risk Management named Joe 2006 Insurance Leader of the Year. In 2009 and 2010, he was named to Treasury & Risk magazine’s list of “100 Most Influential People in Finance.”
Prior to joining Willis, Joe had a 32-year career at Citigroup and its predecessor companies. As CEO of Citibank North America, he led the integration of the consumer businesses at Citicorp and Travelers Group. He also served as Chairman and CEO of Travelers Primerica Financial Services, Vice Chairman of the Travelers Group, and President and Managing Partner of Shearson Lehman Brothers.
An active and committed community leader, Joe has been honored by numerous civic and philanthropic organizations, including the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation in 2009 for his impact on the reputation of the insurance industry, and by the Jackie Robinson Foundation in 2010 for his career achievements. He was named Grand Marshal for the 2011 New York City Columbus Day Parade. He also has been honored by the Sons of Italy Foundation, the Intrepid Foundation, the Boy Scouts of America, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, among others.
Among his many philanthropic endeavors, Joe funded the construction of the Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place, the headquarters of the New Jersey Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The facility was named in honor of his parents with a $2 million gift – the largest single contribution from an individual donor in the history of the organization. In 2011, he received the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s inaugural Philanthropist of the Year Award. He also contributed more than $1 million to the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York, for the development of the school’s new sports complex, named in honor of his late son, Christian.
He currently serves on the boards of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, Mount Sinai Medical Center, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, the Jackie Robinson Foundation, Carnegie Hall and the Churchill Centre and Museum at the Cabinet War Rooms in London. A sports fan and lifelong athlete, Joe was Commissioner of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority from 1997 to 2004. He also is co-owner of two New Jersey minor league baseball teams – the Trenton Thunder, the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, and the Lakewood BlueClaws, the Single-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Born in Trenton, NJ, Joe received his Bachelor of Arts degree in history and education from The College of William and Mary and attended New York Law School. William & Mary awarded Joe an Honorary Doctor of Public Service in 2011. Upon receiving his Honorary Doctorate, Joe delivered a speech to the 2011 graduating class – “Go Play in Traffic (and follow the signs along the road)” – that was recognized as one of the best commencement addresses of the year.
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