Willis Group Holdings: Willis International Announces European Leadership Appointments

(NYSE:WSH), the global insurance broker, announced today a series of senior leadership appointments in its Willis International business unit focusing on its UK and wider European operations.

Today’s appointments complete a reorganization process which began a year ago following the appointment of Tim Wright as CEO of Willis International, a business comprising the Group’s international retail operations with over 6,000 Associates in more than 100 offices in over 42 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia Pacific and Africa.

Firstly, Willis’ Continental European operations will be divided into two distinct regions, one encompassing Western Europe and the other encompassing Central and Eastern Europe. Alberto Gallego, currently Director General of Willis Iberia, has been appointed CEO Willis Western Europe, while Scott Pickering, currently CEO South Africa and Regional CEO Middle East and Africa, will assume additional responsibility for Willis’s Central and Eastern European operations.

Secondly, Dan Wilkinson, CEO Willis UK, will leave the company in early 2013 for a position at the global insurer RSA. Until a successor is announced, the UK Retail business will report to Tim Wright on an interim basis.

Alberto Gallego and Scott Pickering will both report directly to Tim Wright, along with their colleagues Luis Maurette, who runs Willis Latin America, Roger Wilkinson, who heads up Australia and New Zealand and Adam Garrard, who runs Willis Asia.

Congratulating both Gallego and Pickering on their expanded roles, Wright said, “Across much of Europe, there remains significant opportunity for Willis to grow its business. Alberto has been pivotal in driving Willis’ growth in Spain and Portugal, achieving tremendous sales in the face of the financial crisis in both countries. He is ideally positioned to replicate this growth across our West European operations. Similarly the countries of Central and Eastern Europe represent a number of emerging market opportunities for Willis. The Eastern Europe region recorded double digit organic growth in commissions and fees last year. Scott has extensive experience of emerging markets and is ideally placed to help Willis expand its business in this region.”

Alberto Gallego has over thirty years of insurance industry experience working with carriers and clients. He joined Willis in 1990, and as COO of the business in Spain and Portugal since 2000, helped establish Willis as one of the fastest growing insurance brokers in the Iberian market. Today, Willis Iberia employs more than 650 professionals through its 16 offices (14 in Spain and two in Portugal). Prior to Willis, Gallego held positions at Plus Ultra Insurance Company and Marsh, both in Spain. Gallego will relocate to London from Madrid in January 2013 after a short transition period.

Scott Pickering joined Willis in 2009, bringing with him extensive experience in international business development and emerging markets. In 2006, while with ACE, he successfully re-established that insurer’s presence in South Africa as CEO of ACE’s South African operations. Pickering also worked in Dubai as Regional CEO for the Asian and Middle Eastern operations of Royal & Sun Alliance. Since 2011, he has led Willis’s African and Middle East region from the company’s Johannesburg office.

Commenting on Dan Wilkinson’s contribution to the company, Wright said, “I would like to thank Dan for his eighteen years of loyal service to Willis and wish him all the best in his future role. As demonstrated in our latest quarterly earnings, Dan leaves Willis UK with a solid growth platform and a position of improving profitability. I look forward to announcing a successor in due course.”