Willis Towers Watson announces new global leadership team

07 September 2021 Consulting.us 4 min. read
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Willis Towers Watson, one of the world’s largest HR consulting and insurance broking firms, has announced a new leadership team in the wake of the cancellation of its merger with rival Aon.

The landmark merger was nixed in July because of mounting regulatory challenges from US authorities, which could have pushed the deal’s closure into 2022. The merger had initially been announced in March 2020.

Now London-headquartered Willis Towers Watson has announced a new leadership team to “drive the company forward,” according to a press release from the firm.

Willis Towers Watson announces new global leadership team

The new team includes incoming CEO Carl Hess, who was named president a few weeks ago. Hess will succeed John Haley upon his retirement on January 1, 2022.

The firm said the CEO changeover is part of a multi-year succession process that included input from a third-party consultant.

Hess, who is based in New York City, has been at Willis Towers Watson and its predecessor firms since 1989. He is currently the firm’s head of investment, risk and reinsurance, and before that served as co-leader of North America. Hess also previously served as managing director for the Americas at Towers Watson and managing director of Towers Watson’s investment business.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in logic and language from Yale University and is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a chartered enterprise risk analyst.

“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,” said Victor Ganzi, chairman of Willis Towers Watson. “We look forward to his continued contributions as president and future CEO.”

The firm also announced its realignment into a two-segment structure, effective January 1, 2020. The first segment is “health, wealth and career” – which aligns with its consulting offering – and the second is “risk and broking.” The company’s three regions are North America, Europe, and international.

Willis Towers Watson’s new slate of leaders includes a new CFO, COO, and CHRO, among a raft of other appointments. The full list:

  • Kristy Banas, chief human resources officer
  • Anne Bodnar, chief administrative officer
  • Marco Boschetti, head of retirement – health, wealth and career
  • Scott Burnett, chief commercial officer – risk and broking
  • Alexis Faber, chief operating officer
  • Matt Furman, general counsel
  • Adam Garrar, head of risk and broking
  • Julie Gebauer, head of health, wealth and career
  • Katherine Gehman, head of marketing
  • Cecil Hemingway, head of transformation
  • Andrew Krasner, chief financial officer
  • Luis Maurette, head of sales and client management – risk and broking; head of Latin America – international
  • Eric McMurray, head of health and benefits – health, wealth and career
  • John Merkovsky, head of corporate risk and broking risk consulting, analytics; corporate risk and broking global large account leader
  • Anne Pullum, head of Europe
  • Imran Qureshi, head of North America
  • Pam Rollins, head of communication
  • Alastair Swift, head of global lines of business – risk and broking; chief executive officer of Willis Limited (expected nominee, subject to regulatory and other approvals)
  • Pamela Thomson-Hall, head of international
  • Gene Wickes, head of benefits delivery and administration – health, wealth and career

The firm also announced that Joe Gunn will take on a new role as chairman of corporate risk and broking, North America, where he will focus on business development, senior level talent acquisition and retention, and market relationship management.

John Bremen will take on the role of building a new corporate function – “innovation & acceleration” – that will focus on accelerating innovation, research, and commercialization within Willis Towers Watson.

“This Global Leadership Team consists of voices across our geographies, segments, and functions,” said Haley. “We believe this balanced approach strengthens teamwork, fosters collaboration, enables us to make better decisions and leads to faster execution once a decision is made.”

Hess added, “This Global Leadership Team will work together to guide strategy, priorities, investments, and engagement across Willis Towers Watson on behalf of all stakeholders, including colleagues, clients, shareholders, and communities. I’m excited to work with these leaders to build on our already strong foundation and fulfill our purpose to create clarity and confidence today for a more sustainable tomorrow.”