Further restructuring is expected at Willis Towers Watson (WTW) before the end of the year as the company builds momentum in the wake of its proposed combination with Aon falling through, according to Alastair Swift, head of global lines of business.

WTW

Speaking to The Insurer on the sidelines of the Airmic conference in Brighton this week, Swift explained that the restructure will be the “next level down” from the global leadership appointments announced in August, and will focus on how the company’s risk and broking operations will operate around the world and how each geographic structure will work. 

The new global leadership team consists of current CEO John Haley and his successor from 1 January 2022 president Carl Hess.

From the beginning of next year, WTW will be separated into two distinct units – risk and broking, led by Adam Garrard, and health, wealth and career, headed up by Julie Gebauer.

As part of the restructure Swift was named head of global lines of business, transitioning from his previous role as head of corporate risk and broking GB. 

While this new two-segment structure will only come into play from the beginning of 2022, WTW said the new global leadership team will begin working together immediately.

The business has also been separated into three geographical areas – North America, Europe and international.

Imran Qureshi, previously US co-leader, has been tasked with leading WTW’s North America operation. Anne Pullum, who joined WTW in 2014, now serves as head of Europe and Pamela Thomson-Hall was appointed head of international under the new structure. 

Thomson-Hall was most recently head of WTW’s Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

Discussing talent retention in light of the combination collapsing, Swift said that while he expects to see movement within the company, he doesn’t have an issue with staff turnover because it can be “quite good for the business”.

Swift explained: “You need fresh ideas coming through and the way you do that is by recruiting new people into your organisation.

“We will work very hard to make sure we treat our current employees and create the right opportunities for them to develop but also create an exciting place for them and for new talent to come into the organisation so they can bring new ideas and help us continue that process.

Swift also highlighted that “business has been really good” at WTW, particularly in terms of client retention, which he said is in “a better place than we have been over the last few years”.

“We’re in a great position from the point of view of existing portfolio and existing clients but also in attracting new clients because there is something pretty special about WTW and we saw that through the merger process,” he noted. 

He also explained that the merger process gave WTW the opportunity to “look over the fence at our competitors to see what they were doing and how we can differentiate ourselves”.

Swift said: “That’s what we’re focusing on at the moment, we are continuing to grow the business and create the right place for our clients to be. We focus very hard on drilling down into the industries that they are in and trying to understand what risk that creates for our clients.

“We see that as being a very clear differentiator from our competitors. We have a real focus on the industry and thinking about the themes that are affecting our clients,” he added.