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Marsh plans expansion to tap middle market

Marsh plans expansion to tap middle market

NEW YORK—Marsh Inc. announced a series of changes last week including a drive to increase its share of middle-market business and the departure of its president, William A. Malloy.

The New York-based brokerage has "a single-digit market share" of middle-market business and will seek to significantly expand its share of accounts in that sector, which it defines as companies with $50 million to $750 million in revenues, said Brian Storms, chairman and chief executive officer of Marsh.

Marsh's global reach, expertise in different industry sectors and operating efficiencies will enable it to compete effectively with middle-market brokers, many of which still accept contingent commission payments from insurers, he said. Marsh, which gave up most contingent commissions as part of its January 2005 settlement with New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer over its compensation practices, will not accept contingent commissions on middle-market business, Mr. Storms said.

As part of its effort, Marsh has hired Mark Feuer to lead its middle-market business. Mr. Feuer was previously a senior executive at Merrill Lynch, the New York-based investment firm.

"Bringing in somebody from the outside is notable because we want a fresh set of eyes and a level of objectivity," to help develop the middle-market business, Mr. Storms said.

With the departure of Mr. Malloy, who will not be replaced, Mr. Storms will take more direct control of Marsh's three geographic organizations, the brokerage's CEO said.

Mr. Malloy has been president of Marsh since the previous president, Roger Egan, left the brokerage after the compensation probe erupted in 2004. Mr. Malloy will leave Marsh at the end of the year.

Mr. Malloy has spent about 10 years at Marsh in various roles, including several management roles in its European operations.

In addition, Marsh announced several senior appointments, including the appointment of Joe Varnas as chief operating officer. Mr. Varnas joined Marsh in 2005 to head information technology and operations.

Tim Mahoney has been appointed leader for Marsh's Americas region, which comprises the United States, Canada and Latin America. Previously the U.S. region was headed by Greg Carpenter, who will now be responsible for the West Coast. The heads of Marsh's operations in Latin America and Canada will report to Mr. Mahoney.

Meanwhile, the brokerage's parent company, Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. reported revenues of $8.89 billion for the first nine months of 2006, a less than 1% increase over the same period last year. Revenues from risk and insurance services slipped 4.4% to $4.09 billion.

MMC's profits more than doubled to $764 million in the 2006 first nine months. Third-quarter profits also more than doubled to $176 million.

"Our efforts to become more efficient across MMC produced substantially improved year-over-year profitability and margin," said Michael G. Cherkasky, president and CEO of MMC, in a statement.