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Willis Towers Watson names Carl Hess as next CEO


Willis Towers Watson (WTW), the global risk, insurance, reinsurance and investment brokerage and advisory, has named Carl Hess as its next CEO and President, to succeed the retiring John Haley.

carl-hess-willis-towers-watson-ceoHess currently serves as the Head of Willis Towers Watson’s Investment, Risk and Reinsurance business segment.

He will take over the president role and succeed John Haley, upon his retirement, as CEO on January 1st 2022, the company said today.

The news comes fast on the heels of WTW’s announcement that it will sell most of its reinsurance brokerage business to rival Gallagher, which happened quickly after the merger of WTW to would-be acquirer Aon collapsed.

The future leadership of WTW has always been a subject of much discussion, but then after the merger to Aon was abandoned this issue has become front-of-mind for WTW shareholders again, warranting a quick response, which we see today.

“Following a thorough, multi-year succession planning process, including input from a third-party consultant to assess the experience and attributes of potential internal and external candidates, the Board is confident Carl is the right person to guide the company forward,” explained Victor Ganzi, Chairman. “Carl is an exceptional leader with a strong track record of delivering results, depth of experience and understanding across Willis Towers Watson’s various businesses and a proven ability to bring together and motivate colleagues across the company to deliver value for clients and shareholders. We look forward to his continued contributions as president and future CEO. On behalf of the Board, I want to thank John for his years of thoughtful leadership and continued guidance during this transition.”

Outgoing CEO Haley also said, “Carl has played a key role in the evolution and growth of Willis Towers Watson through his diverse leadership roles across our business segments and geographies. I’m confident that with his leadership, Willis Towers Watson will continue to offer a compelling colleague experience, innovate and adapt to address client needs, deliver significant value for our shareholders and better the communities in which we live and work.”

“I’m honored by the opportunity to lead this exceptional company of talented, resilient and dedicated colleagues,” added Hess. “I am excited to fulfill our purpose for the benefit of our clients and all of our stakeholders: to create clarity and confidence today for a more sustainable tomorrow. Thanks to John’s leadership, Willis Towers Watson is well positioned to compete vigorously across our businesses around the world. I look forward to working together to ensure a smooth transition over the next several months.”

Hess has been with the company since 1989, when it was Towers Watson.

Since then he has held a diverse range of leadership positions spanning business segment and geography roles, including as co-leader of North America at Willis Towers Watson and prior to that, managing director, the Americas, of Towers Watson.

Hess was managing director of Towers Watson’s Investment business since January 2010 and also worked in a variety of roles for over 20 years at Watson Wyatt, lastly as global practice director of Watson Wyatt’s Investment business.

He added the insurance and reinsurance brokerage side of the business to his remit after Willis and Towers Watson merged.

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