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Kent to succeed Cavanagh as Willis Re CEO

July 06, 2017

Willis Re has appointed James Kent as CEO of the reinsurance broker, succeeding John Cavanagh.

Kent, who currently serves as deputy global CEO of Willis Re, will take over leadership from Cavanagh when he retires from his position in December 2017.

Cavanagh has been CEO of Willis Re since 2012. He originally joined Willis Re in 2009 after 21 years at the Carvill Group where he was joint CEO.

Before that, he was the deputy managing director of Minet Re and a director of the North America reinsurance division at Willis Faber and Dumas.

Meanwhile, Kent has served as global deputy CEO since December 2016, joining Willis Re in 2004. He was appointed president of North America in 2010, and prior to this, he ran the Willis Re Bermuda operations. Earlier in his career, he spent 13 years at Aon Re (now Aon Benfield).

"I am pleased to confirm James Kent will take on the global leadership of Willis Re. He and John have worked side-by-side for many years and share the same passion and enthusiasm for the delivery of superior client results,” remarked Carl Hess, head of investment, risk and reinsurance at Willis Towers Watson.

Hess thanked Cavanagh for his "tremendous contribution" to Willis Towers Watson.

Not only is John a recognized leader of the Willis Re business, he is also a leading figure in the global reinsurance industry. John has been instrumental in creating the reinsurance business we have today and will leave a strong legacy,” he added.

Cavanagh said it had been "a privilege" to serve as CEO of Willis Re and endorsed Kent as "an exceptional talent".

I have no doubt Willis Re will continue to go from strength to strength under [Kent’s] leadership. I have enjoyed a fantastic career in reinsurance broking, but it is now time to move on,” he said.

Commenting on his appointment, Kent said: ''I am honoured to have this opportunity to lead Willis Re. It has been a pleasure to work with John over the past few years to cement Willis Re's position as one of the world's leading reinsurance advisers.

In succeeding John, I look forward to further enhancing our proposition to help clients effectively manage their risk while building on the collaborative culture so integral to our proposition for both clients and colleagues,” Kent concluded.