Willis Towers Watson selects chief executive’s successor

Promoted head has been with the brokerage for over three decades

Willis Towers Watson selects chief executive’s successor

Insurance News

By Terry Gangcuangco

Willis Towers Watson (WTW) stalwart Carl Hess (pictured) has become the company’s president with immediate effect before replacing John Haley as chief executive on the first day of 2022.

Prior to his appointment as president and incoming CEO, Hess served as WTW’s investment, risk, and reinsurance head. The US-based executive has been with the brokerage since 1989. His previous roles include co-leader of North America.

“I’m honoured by the opportunity to lead this exceptional company of talented, resilient, and dedicated colleagues,” commented Hess. “I am excited to fulfil 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.”

According to WTW chair Victor Ganzi, the promotion came following a thorough, multi-year succession planning process. He cited input from a third-party consultant, which assessed the experience and attributes of both internal and external candidates.

Ganzi said: “The board is confident Carl is the right person to guide the company forward. 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.”

The outgoing chief, meanwhile, highlighted his successor’s key role in WTW’s evolution and growth. Hess worked in a variety of roles at predecessor company Watson Wyatt for more than two decades, and also led Towers Watson’s investment business and the Americas unit.

“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,” stated Haley.    

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