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Willis Towers Watson, Aon settle CFO hiring dispute

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Willis Towers Watson P.L.C. on Wednesday said it has resolved its dispute with rival brokerage Aon P.L.C. regarding the hiring of Michael “Mike” J. Burwell as its new chief financial officer.

The terms of the settlement agreement are confidential, Willis Towers Watson said in a statement. Lawsuits pending in the federal courts in Michigan and Illinois have both been dismissed, the brokerage said.

Mr. Burwell started as Willis Towers Watson’s CFO on Monday, according to the statement.

Aon had sued Willis Towers Watson on Monday, alleging Mr. Burwell had knowledge of Aon’s trade secrets from when he worked with Aon as a consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers L.L.P. and breached his fiduciary duty to Aon by taking on his new post

In addition to the trade secrets allegation, Aon further contended that Mr. Burwell began speaking with Willis Towers Watson about the move while still at Aon.

“While working for Aon,” the complaint said, “Burwell — without Aon’s knowledge — began negotiating with Aon’s competitor Willis to take a position as Willis’ chief financial officer.” Burwell attended confidential strategy meetings and was privy to confidential information while talking to Willis Towers Watson about the new role, Aon alleged in its complaint.

Willis Towers Watson announced on Aug. 21 that Mr. Burwell would become its new CFO, replacing Roger Millay, who was scheduled to step down Oct. 2, Aon said in its complaint.