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Willis Re names McDowell CEO of Bermuda, Harden President of APAC


Two senior appointments at Willis Re, the reinsurance broking arm of Willis Towers Watson, have been announced, with Chris McDowell of Aon Benfield being named CEO of Willis Re Bermuda, as Michael Harden is set to return to the Asia Pacific region taking a role as President of Willis Re Asia Pacific.

Willis Re Bermuda is a key broker for the insurance-linked securities (ILS), collateralised reinsurance and retrocession markets, with the office placing risks with a wide number of ILS funds, in collateralised, industry loss warranty (ILW) and other forms.

Chris McDowell is set to succeed Michael Harden, the CEO of Willis Re Bermuda since 2014, as of the 1st January 2017. McDowell and his team will report into the Willis Re Specialty leadership.

John Cavanagh, Global CEO of Willis Re, commented on the appointments; “Chris will be a huge asset to Willis Re. His knowledge and experience will bring considerable benefit to our clients. As a substantial producer he will no doubt continue the growth of our already strong presence in Bermuda, which is a major strategic reinsurance market for Willis Re and our clients.

“Mike has developed a strong team and a solid foundation for continued growth, fully aligned to Willis Re’s global office network. His return to Asia Pacific to support our existing leadership team will likewise further our growth activities and the delivery of Willis Re’s global offering to clients as these markets continue to build momentum.”

Maurice Williams, Managing Director of Willis Re’s APMETA region added; “Mike has extensive experience in the Asia Pacific region and brings a breadth of knowledge from across Willis Re to serve the rapidly evolving risk and capital needs of our clients. I look forward to working with him again more closely to drive Willis Re’s service offering and production efforts in the region, particularly given the additional capabilities we now have on board as part of Willis Towers Watson.”

McDowell, who has over 30 years of experience in reinsurance markets, joins Willis Re from Aon Benfield, where he held the role of CEO Global Re-Specialty in Bermuda, having joined that broker in 2013. McDowell began his career in the London market, before moving to Bermuda in 2004 when working for Guy Carpenter as managing director in the Global Re-Specialty unit.

Harden, who was chairman of Willis Re Australia prior to his time in Bermuda, has over 40 years’ experience in property and casualty reinsurance as well as specialty lines across the globe. Following his appointment as CEO of Willis Re Bermuda in 2014, Harden continued a role as non-executive chairman of Willis Re Australia.

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