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Steve Hearn leaving Willis to be CEO at Cooper Gay Swett & Crawford


Steve Hearn, Deputy CEO at insurance and reinsurance broker Willis Group Holdings, is leaving the broker to move to competitor Cooper Gay Swett & Crawford to take up the Group CEO role in November of this year.

It’s the latest senior shake-up in the insurance and reinsurance broking sector this year and sees one of the most high-profile London market brokerage leaders moving company.

Hearn has been at Willis since 2008. He became Deputy CEO of Willis Group Holdings in January 2013. Before that he served as CEO of Willis Global from December 2011, moving on to oversee Willis Capital Wholesale & Reinsurance at the beginning of 2015.

Hearn was CEO of Willis Re from February to December 2011, having led Faber & Dumas, Global Markets International and Willis Facultative from 2008 until 2011.

Hearn is also the Chairman of the London Market Group.

Hearn will succeed CGSC CEO Toby Esser who left that role earlier this month.

Dominic Casserley, Willis Group CEO, commented; “I want to thank Steve for everything that he has done for Willis in a host of senior roles over the past seven years. Steve has served clients with distinction, influenced the careers of dozens of Willis colleagues, particularly in the UK and in our speciality and reinsurance businesses, and played a significant leadership role on a wide range of initiatives including our recent investment in Miller Insurance Services.

“Steve has been an extraordinary help to me, both as my deputy in my first two-and-a-half years at Willis and in recent months supporting the arrival of new Willis GB chief executive Nicolas Aubert and in ensuring that all his responsibilities are passed appropriately to other executives. He has also demonstrated strong leadership in our industry in the work of the London Market Group. We are, of course, sorry to see Steve leave our firm, but at this natural point of inflection in his career, we congratulate him on his new appointment.”

Steve Hearn added; “I want to thank all of the Willis team for what has been a great professional experience for me over the past seven years. It has been a pleasure to play my part in putting Willis’ strategy in place, and to see those plans enable superb client service and the growth of the firm. It has been a very hard decision to leave an institution that I care deeply about, and I wish my friends and colleagues at Willis all the best for the future.”

Martin Sullivan, executive chairman of CGSC, said on the news; “To attract someone of the calibre of Steve Hearn not only demonstrates CGSC’s commitment to maintain the great strides already made, but is also a reflection of how highly we are respected in the market and our prospects for the future. Steve has the leadership, vision and energy to realise the potential that exists within this business.”

Hearn also said; “The CGSC story is compelling, with strong established teams that are among the best in the market. It is now poised to enter a new chapter and I am extremely pleased that I will be part of it. I look forward to joining CGSC’s highly effective management team, to help build on the momentum of the past in order to realise the true potential of a great business.”

Steve Hearn is expected to take up his new responsibilities at CGSC from the 2nd November 2015.

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