Aon CEO Greg Case has continued his front-foot response to the failure of the broker’s bid for Willis Towers Watson (WTW) by announcing a new executive committee to “lead the firm forward”.
Aon announced this week that it and WTW had agreed to terminate their business combination agreement and end litigation with the US Department of Justice (DoJ).
“Despite regulatory momentum around the world, including the recent approval of our combination by the European Commission, we reached an impasse with the US Department of Justice,” said Mr Case, squarely pinning the blame for the failed deal, at a cost of more than $1bn to Aon shareholders, on the DoJ.
Questions were immediately asked about the future of Mr Case and WTW CEO John Haley as it became clear the deal was on the rocks. But also on 26 July when the deal terminated, Aon announced the extension of employment agreements for Mr Case and Aon CFO Christa Davies for an additional three years, through to 1 April 2026.
This clear message that no heads would fall at the top of Aon was followed up by the announcement of a new executive committee to lead the firm.
Not surprisingly, this announcement talked about how the new Aon would focus on the needs of its customers and innovation with no mention of the value to shareholders that, according to the more cynical rival brokers and customers, the whole WTW deal was really based on.
Aon said the executive committee is responsible for the firm’s four-pronged ‘Aon United’ blueprint, which is designed to create new sources of value for clients, deliver more effective client service, drive innovation at scale and ensure a “unique and sustaining” colleague experience.
“Our Aon United operating model has been further strengthened through the combination planning process and we’re moving forward at speed without the overhang of regulatory uncertainty or distraction of restructuring,” said Mr Case. “Our new executive committee is an incredibly capable team of leaders with a clear perspective on what it will take to reach the full potential of Aon United.”
Mr Case added: “This team knows how to work together across geographies, solution lines and functions to bring the best of our firm to clients and is fully committed to accelerating innovation to better address unmet client need.”
The new Aon executive committee will be comprised of four solution lines, five regions and five shared service functions.
The four solution lines are: commercial risk solutions, health solutions, reinsurance solutions and wealth solutions. “Global solution lines will play a critical role in understanding macro client trends and producing new solutions that address their unmet needs,” said the firm.
The five regions are: North America, Latin America, the United Kingdom, EMEA and APAC. “Regions serve as the distribution arm of the Aon United operating model and are responsible for delivering one-firm capabilities to clients every day,” explained Aon.
The five shared services are: business services, finance, legal, marketing and communications and the people organisation. “These functions support the delivery of client success. They are fully integrated professional organisations that share best practice and deliver consistent outcomes that ensure that the firm is fully leveraging the scale and functional capability of Aon,” said the broker.
Aon added that these components will be supported by “critical specialty capabilities focused on more effectively serving key segments of Aon’s client base”, specifically enterprise clients and international business.
Mr Case has moved swiftly to try and shift the focus away from the failed WTW bid and reassure customers that they really are at the centre of Aon’s thinking and strategy. It will be interesting to see how the equity analysts respond during the second-quarter earnings call on Friday. It could be a lively discussion.