Aon and Willis Towers Watson have jointly announced the leadership team of the company that will emerge once its proposed combination is completed and the plan laid out perhaps suggests that the pair have no intention to offload the Willis Re reinsurance arm.
The pair say this represents their “one firm mindset”, with this new leadership structure set to come together as soon as Aon’s acquisition of Willis Towers Watson (WTW) completes and the two firms combine.
“Aon and Willis Towers Watson have a unique opportunity to create a combined firm that will make an even greater difference in the global economy and provide unparalleled experiences for our clients and colleagues,” explained Greg Case, Aon CEO. “This talented team draws on the best of both from each organization and will be critical to delivering on the high aspirations we have for the new Aon.”
“As we learned more about each other’s organizations, it became clear that a fundamental driver of our success will be leaders who fully embrace a one firm mindset,” added John Haley, CEO, Willis Towers Watson. “The willingness to put the needs of clients and the entire organization ahead of their part of the business and any individual priorities will be the key to unlocking the full potential of the planned combination for the benefit of all our stakeholders.”
The new leadership structure of the future Aon plc, post WTW merger, can be seen below on the risk side of the business:
No significant surprises there, but perhaps most notable is James Kent, of Willis Re, taking on the Deputy CEO role of Aon’s Reinsurance Solutions, post-combination.
This signals a strong degree of confidence at the firms that a divestment of this key division won’t be required.
The same is apparent on the commercial risk side of the future Aon leadership, with WTW’s Adam Garrard lined up as President Commercial Risk and CEO Global Broking, again reflecting a strong confidence no divestment will be required here, despite it being another area highlighted for by regulators.
“All of the leaders we are announcing today are highly accomplished and true advocates of the one firm mindset that will be at the core of the new Aon,” Case said. “We are confident that our combined firm, with this leadership team, will help us address the most pressing areas of client need and provide compelling new opportunities for our colleagues.”
As we explained recently here, the industry sees a high chance that in order for Aon’s acquisition of rival Willis Towers Watson to go ahead a divestment of reinsurance broking unit Willis Re will be required.
As we said, we understand at least one approach to buy Willis Re has been made in recent weeks, but the offered price was deemed too low.
There’s a strong chance some discussions continue about the possibility of offloading the unit behind the scenes, it’s certain Aon will have prepared for a regulatory decision that wasn’t in its favour. But it’s clear from this plan that, at least optically, the firms would rather move forwards with the merger assuming that divestment won’t be required.