Mercer appoints global and North America diversity heads

31 March 2022 2 min. read
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Mercer, an HR consulting and asset management firm, has appointed Christopher “Chris” Williams as global inclusion and diversity (I&D) leader and Kaia West as I&D leader for US and Canada.

In the newly created role, Williams will lead the 25,000-person company’s global I&D strategy and drive measurable outcomes in the space. Based in New York, he will report to Moreland Murray, who was recently named I&D head of Mercer’s parent company Marsh McLennan, as well as to Achim Lueder, chief people officer of Mercer.

West, meanwhile, will lead the implementation of Mercer’s I&D strategy in the US and Canada, collaborating with stakeholders and “championing continued change,” according to a press release from the New York-headquartered consultancy.

“We look forward to the added momentum Chris and Kaia will bring, including expanding our inclusion and diversity practices, aligning our internal Business Resource Groups (BRGs), and improving our ability to track and measure the progress and impact of our I&D initiatives,” said Martine Ferland, president and CEO of Mercer.

Mercer appoints global and North America diversity heads

Williams has more than two decades of experience in I&D. He most recently spent three years as an executive coach specializing in diversity and leadership development. Before that he spent 11 years at HBO, where he was VP of organizational effectiveness and managed matters related to talent development, including leadership development programs, executive coaching, change management, diversity initiatives, and employee training.

Prior to his tenure at HBO, Williams was a senior director of learning and development at Viacom and a senior consultant in the DEI practice of Ivy Planning Group. Earlier in his career, Williams was a management consultant at PwC and Accenture, where he focused on HR engagements.

He has a master’s degree in HR and organizational development from The New School and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Antioch University.

West, who is based in Phoenix, joined Mercer in 2019 as national recruiting leader for the firm’s government human services consulting practice. In 2021, she also took on I&D leadership for the practice.

Before Mercer, West spent nearly 14 years at KPMG US, holding various roles in talent acquisition and diversity, including associate director for campus recruiting.

She has a master’s degree in HR management from the University of Cincinnati and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida A&M University.

"Lack of diversity hurts us as a society because we are inevitably depriving ourselves of those skills and perspective,” said Williams.

West added, “A relentless commitment to respect, equity, and inclusion will be the North Star guiding us on this journey.”