Simon Matson, CEO of Arthur J. Gallagher’s UK broking and underwriting business, has apologized for “insensitive comments” made when former employees left Gallagher-owned Alesco to join Ardonagh Group.
Comments made by Matson and other Alesco executives came to light when Gallagher filed a £10 million ($12.8 million) lawsuit against Ardonagh, alleging that two Gallagher employees, Nawaf Hasan and Peter Burton, had been illegally poached when they joined Ardonagh units in 2018.
Last month, a London judge, rejected the lawsuit, saying the two men had rarely worked together at Alesco, so it was unlikely they exited in a planned conspiracy. The judge also referred to comments made by Matson and other executives as “abusive and racist.” For example, Matson called Hasan a “complicated fat Arab” among other epithets.
This week, Gallagher issued a response about the comments, which became public as a result of the litigation:
“Now that the recent litigation between Gallagher and Ardonagh Group has concluded, we feel that it is an appropriate time to comment to set the record straight,” said the company in a statement.
“We are incredibly proud of the strong and positive culture we have at Gallagher, something that is directly reflected in the exceptionally high scores our colleagues gave for important cultural indicators such as trust, respect, pride, diversity and advocacy, in our annual engagement survey, all of which have increased further in the last 12 months,” said Matson in his comment.
“As such, I am very sorry for the insensitive comments that were made by me and other individuals, which absolutely do not reflect the culture within our organization,” he added.
“The UK Board undertook a fundamental review with expert external input when this matter first came to light six months ago,” said Sue Langley, non-executive chairman of Gallagher’s UK Holdings Board.
“At Gallagher we adopt the highest standards to promote an inclusive culture, and this will remain a priority for the board,” she continued. “We are committed to working in partnership with the market to cultivate a positive, diverse and inclusive insurance industry and we will be appointing a new head of CSR [corporate social responsibility] to work with our existing team to build momentum still further, internally and within the wider insurance market.”
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