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John Cavanagh Appointed Willis Re CEO


Posted on 20 Jan 2012

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Willis Group Holdings, the global insurance broker, today announced the appointment of John Cavanagh as CEO Willis Re, the reinsurance broking arm of Willis Group. Effective immediately, Cavanagh succeeds Steve Hearn, who was appointed Chairman and CEO Willis Global last December. In his new role, Cavanagh joins Peter Hearn, Chairman Willis Re, and Paddy Jago, President of Willis Re on the Willis Re Executive team, in addition to becoming a member of the Willis Executive Committee.

John Cavanagh has been an Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Willis Re since 2009, when he joined Willis from International Specialty reinsurance broker RK Carvill, of which Cavanagh was joint CEO. Previously responsible for production and marketing of large specialty reinsurance accounts, and a member of the Willis Re Global Production Board, Cavanagh brings to the role of CEO 36 years of experience in the London insurance market.

Prior to his 21 years at the Carvill Group, Cavanagh was Deputy Managing Director of Minet Re and a Director of the North American reinsurance division at Willis Faber and Dumas.

As a pioneer in the Capital Markets space, Cavanagh was instrumental in the delivery of the first ever Insurance-Linked Securities (ILS) transaction at Lloyd’s and acted as advisor on the first ever Casualty ILS. He was also a founder of the Carvill Hurricane Index, an innovative product which described the potential for damage from Atlantic hurricanes, and is used as a basis for the trading of commoditised catastrophe instruments on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Congratulating Cavanagh on his appointment, Peter Hearn, Chairman Willis Re, said, “Since joining us in 2009, John has made an enormous contribution and has had an extremely productive working relationship with the Willis and Willis Re executive management. His extensive experience of the market and his familiarity with our clients and prospects has been invaluable, and the continued growth and success of Willis Re are undoubtedly assured under his leadership as CEO. I look forward to working with John in his new capacity.”

Outgoing Willis Re CEO Steve Hearn, whose new role as CEO Willis Global encompasses oversight for Willis Re, Willis Global Specialties, Willis Faber & Dumas, Willis Global Solutions and Willis Global Placement, said, “With his market-leading Specialty expertise, proven leadership skills and Capital Markets knowledge, we are very fortunate to have someone of John’s calibre internally to take on the role of CEO, Willis Re. He knows our clients and our business and, with his experience as the former CEO of a highly successful reinsurance broker, is ideally placed to lead Willis Re into its next chapter of growth.”


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