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Willis Appoints New Managing Director for Middle East and General Manager to Drive Growth in Saudi Arabia

Posted on 18 Jan 2011

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Global insurance broker Willis Group Holdings today announced that Paul Holmes has been appointed Managing Director of Al Futtaim Willis Middle East, effective 9 February 2011. Holmes will be based in Dubai and will report to Scott Pickering, CEO, Willis Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa. Holmes replaces Marc Slatter who, pending approval by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, will take up the position of General Manager for Willis Saudi Arabia.

With over 25 years of experience in the insurance industry, 14 of which have been spent in the Middle East, Holmes joins Willis from RSA Insurance where he was most recently CEO of the company’s Middle East operations. Before that, Holmes was CEO of RSA’s United Arab Emirates (UAE) operation. Prior to joining RSA in 2005, Holmes also held a number of key positions throughout the region, including Country Manager of Bahrain and UAE at separate times for Norwich Union.

Commenting on Holmes’ appointment, Pickering said: “The Middle East is an area of huge opportunity for Willis and Paul is ideally placed to drive our growth there. With his diverse experience of underwriting, marketing, operational and sales management in the region, his impressive knowledge of the local market and his clear comprehension of Middle Eastern cultural dynamics, Paul will help us take our business to the next level.”

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the Middle East’s largest economy and biggest insurance market. Willis has three offices there in Al-Khobar, Jeddah and Riyadh. Slatter will be based in Al-Khobar and replaces Willis Saudi Arabia’s former General Manager Murray McLachlan who has left the Group. Slatter has been at Willis since 1982 primarily in the Energy division. He moved with the Group to Al Futtaim Willis Dubai in 1996 and has been Managing

Director of the Middle East region for ten years.
Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest exporter of oil and is investing over US$ 400 billion in mega infrastructure projects over the next five years. C

ommenting on Slatter’s pivotal new role, Pickering said, “The sheer scale of the Kingdom’s development presents unique operational challenges from an insurance perspective. The decision to appoint Marc on the ground as the leader of Willis Saudi Arabia demonstrates the importance of our business there. He has successfully built up Willis’ operations in the Middle East for 14 years and is the best person to help our clients find insurance solutions that will enable them to participate in the country’s unprecedented growth.”

Willis is one of the leading global brokers in the Middle East with six offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Willis has been in partnership with Al Futtaim, one of the region’s leading business groups, for almost 35 years.