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McKenna resigns from Aon board


CHICAGO (Crain's)—Andrew J. McKenna, an Aon Corp. director for 42 years, is resigning from the board on the eve of the company's corporate headquarters move to London.

Mr. McKenna, 82, was to step down at the close of business Friday, Aon disclosed in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing after the market close. He notified the company on Monday.

Mr. McKenna, a longtime friend and ally of Aon founder and former CEO Patrick G. Ryan, was one of three Chicago-based directors to abstain from the board's vote in January on the London move. Ariel Investments L.L.C. CEO John Rogers, one of the other abstentions, already has stepped down from the board. William Blair & Co. Chairman Edgar Jannotta, the last abstention, still is on Aon's board.

Like the filing pertaining to Mr. Rogers, Friday's filing said, “Mr. McKenna's decision to resign as a director was not due to any disagreements with the company on any matter relating to the company's operations, policies or practices.”

Mr. McKenna is nonexecutive chairman of Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald's Corp. and chairman of his own Morton Grove, Ill.-based paper company, Schwarz Supply Source Inc.

By far the longest-tenured member of Aon's board, Mr. McKenna's involvement goes back to when Mr. Ryan was running his namesake commercial insurance brokerage. It only became Aon in the 1980s following Mr. Ryan's merger with W. Clement Stone's Combined Insurance Co.

Shareholders on March 16 overwhelmingly approved Aon's relocation to London, where CEO Greg Case and fewer than 20 other senior executives will be based.

The exchange of shares is expected to close on Monday and will result in a capital-gains tax charge for many long-time shareholders, including Mr. Ryan, who at last tally held 12.8 million shares.

Aon has said the move is strategic, giving Mr. Case and other senior executives better access to international markets where Aon expects more of its future growth to come. Investors have pointed to lower corporate taxes in Britain, which could boost Aon's earnings per share by 14% or more in the next few years.

Steve Daniels is a reporter for Crain’s Chicago Business, a sister publication of Business Insurance.

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