Willis Announces Senior Appointments for New Global Industries and Products

LONDON, Oct. 24, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Willis Group Holdings (NYSE:WSH), the global risk adviser, insurance and reinsurance broker, today announced a series of senior appointments to lead the company's new global industries and products. These new roles, which align all of Willis' capabilities and expertise around geographies, industries and products, are effective on January 1, 2014. This evolution in Willis's organizational structure is in response to listening closely to clients around the world who want broad, bespoke and fast access to all of their risk advisor and broker's risk management services in a more seamless package.

The appointments that Willis is announcing today encompass four of the company's large global industries and a number of product areas. The four industries are Aerospace, Construction, Financial Institutions and Natural Resources. The leaders of these industries will be building teams of experts from within Willis and bringing in outside talent where necessary and will establish a stronger, more coordinated regional presence in the various territories in which Willis operates. While the first four of the global industries are being announced today, additional global industries will be similarly configured in the coming months.

"Our aim is to bring the best of Willis to our clients, and so achieve sustainable growth for the firm" said, Dominic Casserley, CEO of Willis Group. "At our investor conference in July, we said that unlocking growth in the coming years would correspond with anticipating our clients' future needs. They've told us they need resilience across their operations and access to the best products and services we can provide, no matter where it sits in our organization. Our appointments today align our best expertise, knowledge and capabilities, bringing them to our clients where they need it most," Casserley added.

The industry appointments announced today, all of whom will report to Steve Hearn, Deputy Group CEO and Chairman and CEO of Willis Global, include the following:

Alastair Swift will lead Willis Group's Global Aerospace industry. Prior to this appointment, Swift served as the Chief Executive Officer of Global Placement for Willis Group, responsible for the company's overall coordination and market relationships with global insurance carriers. Philip Smaje, Global CEO Aerospace, who has been leading Willis's Aerospace Specialty business, will work closely with Swift to execute the Group's broadened strategy. Willis is a recognised leader in the aerospace market, with an impressive client portfolio across the aerospace sector globally.

Bill Creedon will lead Willis Group's Global Construction industry. Since 2008, Creedon has been a senior executive of Willis North America (WNA), serving most recently as National Partner for the West Region of WNA in North America. He joined Willis in 2008 and has 28 years of experience of the construction and insurance sector.

Mary O'Connor will lead Willis Group's Financial Institutions industry. O'Connor has previously served as Willis's head of Risk and Compliance. O'Connor is an accomplished lawyer with over two decades of senior government and private sector experience in areas of regulation and financial crime in the UK, the U.S. and internationally. She joined Willis from the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA)

Alistair Rivers will lead Willis Group's Natural Resources industry. This includes the mining, energy, power, utilities and renewables industries. In addition to this role, Rivers will oversee development of additional specialized industry teams at Willis. Previously, Rivers served as Chief Executive Officer of Willis's Global Marine and Energy Divisions, where he oversaw the design, placing and servicing of all major accounts.

In addition to the global industries noted above, Willis today announced several additional appointments that also align the company's expertise with client needs. These appointments include the following:

Dominic Samengo-Turner will serve as Willis Group's Global Head of Broking and Products, responsible for delivering the full range of insurance solutions to Willis clients across industry sectors and geographies. Samengo-Turner will report to Steve Hearn. Previously, as CEO of Willis Faber and Dumas, he was responsible for the London Market wholesale businesses. Samengo-Turner joined Willis in 1991.

Product leaders announced today include Property, Financial Institutions (FI), Professional Indemnity (PI) and D&O, Political Risk and Kidnap & Ransom (K&R). The new leaders, who will take up their roles from 1st January 2014, will report to Dominic Samengo-Turner.

Gianmarco Tosti will lead Global Property.Tosti was appointed CEO of Willis Limited's Construction, Property and Casualty Division in 2013. Tosti joined Willis Limited in 2006 as Head of Southern Europe for Global Markets International, coming from Aon Re Italia, where he was Head of the Facultative Non Marine Division, and a member of the Board.

Roland Avery will lead Global FI, PI and D&O. Avery is currently Chairman of FINEX Global and has specialised in the Financial Lines sector for the last 16 years. Prior to joining Willis in 2004 he was Managing Director and COO of Aon's Financial Lines business. Avery started his career some 30 years ago as a property underwriter and subsequently worked for an International Lloyd's Broker in various positions, primarily focussed on UK retail business.

Paul L Davidson will lead Global Political Risk. Davidson is Chairman & CEO of Global Specialties Financial Solutions Division and is an Associate of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (ACSI). He is also responsible for the development and publication of the Willis Political Risk Index, published three times a year and produced in conjunction with Oxford Analytica. He joined Willis in 1975. His early experience was in US casualty and bankers' insurances, and he played a major role in the development of expatriate executive protection and political risk insurance.

Douglas Milne will lead Global Kidnap & Ransom (K&R). Milne will also continue in his role as Chief Executive Officer of Special Contingency Risks Ltd (SCR). SCR encompasses all aspects of People Risk Management, providing Personal Accident and Corporate Evacuation supported by Alert:24, SCR's fully integrated 24 hour manned crisis response centre. Milne was a founding member of the K&R division, now the world's leading broker in this specialist field since its beginnings over 35 years ago. Milne joined Willis in 1977.

Commenting on the product leader appointments, Dominic Samengo-Turner said: "The new global product leaders will work with the newly appointed global heads of industry and with existing regional and office leaders around Willis to bring the full range of our insurance solutions to clients. I look forward to working with them to design the next generation of innovative product solutions."

In other appointments announced today, David Thomas will serve as CEO of Market Services and Solutions, responsible for leading the development of the company's global carrier relationships. Reporting directly to Dominic Casserley, this new role is intended to focus exclusively on the company's relationships with insurance carriers and to create a clear separation with corporate client service. Thomas was previously Director of Strategy and Transformation for the Willis Global business unit. Prior to his role with Willis Global, Thomas had served, beginning in 2009, as an Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Willis Re. Thomas joined Willis Re from international specialty reinsurance broker RK Carvill, where he served as joint CEO.

Willis also announced today the formation of a new unit focusing on growing Willis's share of Facultative Reinsurance for named cedants. The new unit will be established within Willis subsidiary Faber Global, reporting to Faber Global CEO Jason Howard. The unit will shape and coordinate Willis' facultative offering to the company's leading insurance carrier partners through appointment of client advocates for each major cedant. Howard will be responsible for leading the combined Facultative and Wholesale strategy, as well as for the strategic growth and development of Faber Global.

Commenting on the range of appointments announced today, Dominic Casserley added: "The world of risk is evolving rapidly, matched only by the fast changing risk management needs of our clients. The appointments we are announcing today reflect Willis's commitment to match the changed environment that our clients face with strong, nimble and global capabilities and leaders aligned around geography, industry and product. What makes Willis special, today and tomorrow, is how we combine our collective expertise, experience and capabilities to find the best risk management solutions for our clients."

About Willis

Willis Group Holdings plc is a leading global risk adviser, insurance and reinsurance broker. With roots dating to 1828, Willis operates today on every continent with more than 17,000 employees in over 400 offices. Willis offers its clients superior expertise, teamwork, innovation and market-leading products and professional services in risk management and transfer. Our experts rank among the world's leading authorities on analytics, modelling and mitigation strategies at the intersection of global commerce and extreme events. Find more information at our website, www.willis.com, our leadership journal, Resilience, or our up-to-the-minute blog on breaking news, WillisWire. Across geographies, industries and specialisms, Willis provides its local and multinational clients with resilience for a risky world.

CONTACT: Media: Miles Russell + 44 2031 248 716 Email: Miles.Russell@willis.com Investors: Peter Poillon +1 212 915 8084 Email: Peter.Poillon@willis.comSource:Willis Group Holdings