Willis Re Taps Aon’s McDowell to Lead Bermuda Unit; Harden as APAC President

August 23, 2016

Willis Re announced the appointment of Chris McDowell as CEO of Willis Re Bermuda. Effective Jan. 1, 2017, he will succeed Michael Harden, CEO of Willis Re Bermuda since 2014, who is returning to the Asia Pacific region as president of Willis Re Asia Pacific. McDowell and his team will report into Willis Re Specialty.

With more than 30 years in the industry, McDowell joins from Aon Benfield where he was CEO of Global Re-Specialty in Bermuda, having joined the firm in 2013. Harden, who was chairman of Willis Re Australia prior to Bermuda, has more than 40 years’ experience in property and casualty reinsurance as well as specialty accounts across the globe.

McDowell began his career in 1985 at EW Payne in London. He joined the Willis Group in 1990, originally working for Carter Wilkes & Fane where he rose to the position of executive director in the non-marine retro division. In 2002 McDowell joined Guy Carpenter where he made the move to Bermuda in 2004 and held the position of managing director in the Global Re-Specialty division. He most recently held the position of CEO of Global Re-Specialty in Bermuda for Aon Benfield, having joined the firm in 2013.

Harden began his career at Willis Re in London in 1976, becoming a senior marine London market excess-of-loss broker before moving to Australia in 1985. In 1991 Harden re-joined Willis Re as a director of Willis Re Australia, becoming the CEO in 2007 and chairman in 2013. Following his appointment as CEO of Bermuda in 2014, Harden remained non-executive chairman of Willis Re Australia.

“Chris [McDowell] will be a huge asset to Willis Re. His knowledge and experience will bring considerable benefit to our clients. As a substantial producer he will no doubt continue the growth of our already strong presence in Bermuda, which is a major strategic reinsurance market for Willis Re and our clients,” commented John Cavanagh, global CEO of Willis Re said.

“Mike [Harden] has developed a strong team and a solid foundation for continued growth, fully aligned to Willis Re’s global office network. His return to Asia Pacific to support our existing leadership team will likewise further our growth activities and the delivery of Willis Re’s global offering to clients as these markets continue to build momentum,” he added.

“Mike has extensive experience in the Asia Pacific region and brings a breadth of knowledge from across Willis Re to serve the rapidly evolving risk and capital needs of our clients,” said Maurice Williams, managing director of Willis Re’s APMETA region (Asia Pacific, Middle East, Turkey and North Africa).

Source: Willis Towers Watson

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