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Willis Appoints Mary O’Connor CEO of Financial Lines for Willis GB

LONDON, Oct. 26, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Willis Group Holdings (NYSE:WSH), the global risk advisory, re/insurance broking and human capital and benefits firm, has today announced with immediate effect the appointment of Mary O’Connor as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Financial Lines for Willis GB.

O’Connor will join the executive committee of Willis GB, the operating segment that includes Willis’s specialty, facultative and retail insurance businesses in Great Britain. At the same time, O’Connor retains her role as Global Head of Willis’s Financial Institutions Industry, with responsibility for Willis’s world-wide practice in relation to all financial services clients.

Willis GB’s Financial Lines division includes FINEX – the financial and executive risks practice led by Jeremy Wall – as well as Financial Solutions, which covers political and trade credit risks and is led by Paul Davidson.

O’Connor has held senior positions in government in the UK and the US. She joined Willis from the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) where she was Head of Approved Persons, with responsibility for overseeing regulation of executives and client-facing staff working in financial services in the UK. O’Connor was also a manager in the Enforcement and Financial Crime Division, where she successfully led high-profile investigations into LIBOR-rigging and obtained record-breaking fines against firms and individuals. Prior to her time at the FSA (now the Financial Conduct Authority), O’Connor was a partner at a major US law firm in London, and an Assistant US Attorney in Washington, DC. As a securities litigator she prosecuted numerous market abuse and insider trading cases.

Commenting on the appointment, Nicolas Aubert, CEO of Willis GB, said: “I look forward to working closely with Mary as she joins Willis GB’s executive committee. I’m extremely confident that she will continue to drive forward our market leading financial and executive risks business, which has built a strong reputation over the years for delivering innovative and cost-effective risk management solutions to our clients. As a leading expert on risk and regulation she is uniquely positioned to provide our clients with the type of intelligence-based and progressive client solutions that define Willis as the analytical broker.”

O’Connor added: “With increased pressure at all levels, company directors and executives around the world are finding themselves more personally exposed than ever. New pressures have emerged with shifting social attitudes and the growing threat of legal action by employees, shareholders and regulatory authorities. As a global risk advisory, broking and solutions provider Willis is in a unique position to help our clients meet these challenges head-on, with a powerful mix of risk insights combined with practical solutions and innovative risk transfer mechanisms.”

Stefan Spohr, Global Head of Industry for Willis Group, commented: “I’d like to congratulate Mary on her appointment. In addition to her new role, Mary will continue to oversee the development of Willis’ strategy and value proposition for financial institutions globally. She has done a fantastic job leading Willis’s Financial Institutions global industry. In her new capacity she will take this to the next level as she leads the delivery of innovative risk management and broking services through Willis’ global network combined with our UK based financial and executive risks business.”

About Willis
Willis Group Holdings is a leading global risk advisory, re/insurance broking and human capital and benefits firm. With roots dating to 1828, Willis operates today on every continent with more than 18,000 employees in over 400 offices. Willis offers its clients superior expertise, teamwork, innovation and market-leading products and professional services in risk management and transfer. Our experts rank among the world’s leading authorities on analytics, modelling and mitigation strategies at the intersection of global commerce and extreme events. Find more information at our website,, our leadership journal, Resilience, or our up-to-the-minute blog on breaking news, WillisWire. Across geographies, industries and specialisms, Willis provides its local and multinational clients with resilience for a risky world.

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