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Willis promotes exec amid legal fight over poaching


Willis Group Holdings appointed a new chief for one of its specialty units amid a legal fight over a rival brokerage's alleged illegal poaching raid on the unit.

Willis said in a statement Thursday that Seth Peller has been appointed as global CEO of its London-based fine art, jewelry and specie division.

The move comes in the wake of a lawsuit filed by Willis against Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group P.L.C., JLT Specialty Ltd. and former Willis employee David Gordon over the unauthorized recruiting of Mr. Gordon and other Willis employees.

Meanwhile, JLT issued a response to the suit.

“Following recent press comment, we can confirm that Willis Ltd. applied for an injunction against JLT yesterday, in relation to our recent hiring of various individuals from the Willis fine art, jewelry and specie business. The application for an injunction was dismissed by the Court. Willis has now issued legal proceedings relating to this matter. JLT will continue to defend its legitimate business interests vigorously,” a JLT spokeswoman said, in an email.

Mr. Peller will be based in London and will lead teams in the U.K., U.S. and worldwide. He previously served as global head of casualty and CEO of Willis' Argentina operations.

He replaces Mr. Gordon, who resigned from Willis and is serving his notice period, the statement said.