Aon Corp. announced that the company is implementing its management succession plan and has begun a search for a new president and chief executive officer.
Patrick Ryan, 67, will continue to serve as CEO until a successor is named and, thereafter, will continue as chairman of the Board of Directors. Andrew McKenna, who heads the Board’s Corporate Governance Committee, will lead a Search Committee, which will be assisted by an executive recruiting firm to be selected shortly.
According to Ryan, “We have built Aon into one of the largest and most respected companies in the insurance industry, fulfilling a strategy that we had established many years ago. Having served as CEO of Aon and its predecessor for 40 years, it is now time for a new generation of leadership. As chairman, I will do all I can to support the new CEO in a smooth transition. Aon has the best employees in our industry, and I will continue to work with them to maintain and build key client relationships around the world.”
McKenna noted, “As the company’s founder, Pat Ryan has become synonymous with Aon. He is an extraordinary leader, having built Aon into a globally respected franchise with all of the elements necessary to effectively compete and succeed. With Pat’s continuing support and involvement, the Board is confident that the new CEO will be able to hit the ground running, build successfully on the Aon platform, and execute on our initiatives to improve financial performance.”
Commenting on the search process, McKenna added, “We expect to complete the search as expeditiously as possible consistent with finding the right person to lead Aon into the future. We seek a proven executive who can build on our sophisticated global professional services platform, drive innovation and shareholder value, and attract and manage the industry’s best talent.”
Michael D. O’Halleran, 54, Aon’s current president and chief operating officer, has advised the Board that he is not a candidate for the CEO position. He becomes senior executive vice president of the company with continued responsibility for global reinsurance brokerage, wholesale brokerage, and managing underwriting activities.
Ryan noted, “Mike has been a valued partner in building Aon, and I am grateful for his many contributions and for his assurances that he will continue to lend his talents to the company. I respect his decision. I have asked Mike to oversee global reinsurance and wholesale brokerage, businesses in which he is an acknowledged industry leader.”
According to O’Halleran, “I have asked not to be considered as Pat’s successor, and therefore I believe it is appropriate for me now to relinquish the president and chief operating officer titles. Further, I do not intend to stand for re-election as a director at the 2005 annual shareholders’ meeting. I have spent much of my career helping to build Aon’s reinsurance business, and I look forward to focusing my energies on the tremendous global opportunities within our reinsurance, wholesale brokerage, and managing underwriting businesses.”