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Willis fills out senior leadership ranks for business segments and geographies

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Willis Towers Watson has rolled out its second tier of major leadership appointments, following the termination of its merger deal with Aon, naming new heads by geography, segment and corporate function.

The company had earlier announced that Carl Hess would succeed John Haley as CEO at year-end, while Adam Garrard will continue in his role at global head of risk and broking. Willis also announced it was simplifying its organizational structure into two units – health, wealth, and career, and risk and broking – ahead of the sale of its reinsurance business.

Among the highlights from the new geographic leadership appointments, Anne Pullum will run risk and broking in the European region, while longtime Willis veteran Mike Liss has been named head of North America risk and broking.

Pamela Thomson-Hall will take the reins for the international segment, which comprises Asia, Australasia, the CEEMEA region, and Latin America.

Among the notable global business lines appointments, Jeremy Wall will head Willis’s Finex group and John Rooley will oversee aviation. Christophe Meurier has been put in charge of financial solutions, and Graham Knight will run the natural resources group.

Meanwhile, Kate Harb, a more than 10-year Willis veteran, has been picked to serve as chief of staff. She was most recently director of strategy and execution.

Despite the raft of appointments, at least 13 of the top posts in risk and broking remain to be filled. Among the most notable vacancies was the head for the broking and broking strategy segment.

According to an internal memo from Haley and Hess seen by this publication, the executives said that the “pace of the selection process differs across the segments, geographies and corporate functions”, and that the company plans to announce another wave of senior leaders in November.

The appointments announced on Thursday are effective immediately.

“We’re confident the leaders named today and in the future will help WTW to deliver on our vision to be the best company it can be for our colleagues and our clients – and will embody the true spirit of One WTW,” Haley and Hess said in the memo.

The updated leadership structure comes as the company seeks to refill its executive ranks following several significant departures, both in the run up to the merger with Aon closing, but also after its collapse.

At its investor day last month, Willis’s leadership team said that the attrition rate among staff had jumped by 22% in the previous 12 months. But the company said it had since re-hired a large number of executives who left after the Aon deal was announced and that even more had expressed an interest in returning.

Willis executives also said the company aimed to increase revenues to $10bn by 2024, while generating more than $300mn in savings and reaching between 24%-25% operating margins in that timeframe.

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