Howden boosts international legal team with key hires

Howden boosts international legal team with key hires | Insurance Business Asia

Howden boosts international legal team with key hires

Howden Group (Howden) has boosted its international legal capabilities with the appointments of Will Bloomer as its chief corporate and legal affairs officer and Frances Coats as its new group general counsel.

Bloomer began his career as a solicitor with Cameron McKenna in London and Hong Kong. Before joining Howden, he spent 12 years with Health Lambert (later Gallagher Heath) as a general counsel and compliance director. He joined Howden in March 2012 as a corporate and legal director and has started serving as a group general counsel since 2013. He is also a member of the group's executive committee.

In his expanded role, Bloomer will be responsible for major, complex corporate initiatives and development. He commented: “I am incredibly proud of the team we have built here and the part we have played in building the group to what it is today.”

Coats, who will join the Howden Broking and DUAL Group executive committees, has in-house and private practice experience, leading teams in the technology, insurance, and litigation finance industries and several jurisdictions.

Coats has held leadership positions at Tesco and Kraft Foods. She began her legal career at White and Case in London and Tokyo, before working stints at Latham and Watkins and Clifford Chance in London and the Middle East. Most recently, she was the European general counsel for international insurtech business bolttech. She also served as a chief counsel for corporate and commercial at The Ardonagh Group.  

As the group general counsel, Coats will lead the firm's international legal team and report to Bloomer.

Bloomer commented: “As well as the many internal promotions, attracting a group general counsel of Frances' quality – as recognised by her legal peers – is so good for us, as well as being evidence of the excitement building around the opportunities we have to do something different in the industry.  She brings a commercial eye and a breadth and depth of legal experience that, in combination, mean she will bring a fresh dynamic to our endeavours.”

In the last 18 months, Howden has completed its largest acquisition and several strategic acquisitions globally, welcomed Hg to the Group as a long-term investor, increased its talent base, and delivered its most successful internal share offer – with Bloomer being the centre of the execution of these initiatives.

“Our scale, reach and relevance, and a competitive backdrop that presents us with an incredible opportunity to attract those who want to help us build something different for clients in a unique culture together mean that the future will be busy,” said Howden Group chief executive officer David Howden.

“To this end, we must continue to enhance our ability to move with speed and precision whilst managing an increasing number of projects, and we will do this by investing further in our capabilities and infrastructure. With Will's commercial agility, supported by the addition of new talent in Frances, the legal team will continue to play a central role in the group's success.”