2018 Women to Watch EMEA: Jacqueline LegrandPosted On: Dec. 3, 2018 12:00 AM CST
Jacqueline Legrand is a true citizen of the world: raised in the French Alps and living in New Rochelle, New York, with her husband and two daughters before running brokerage operations in Porto, Portugal, and Sao Paulo.
Ms. Legrand began her insurance career in Paris in 1988 when she joined French broker Théorème. In 2006, she joined Crystal & Company in New York, where she became a managing director and significantly expanded the company’s international department. In 2012, she took the position of chief operating officer and board member for brokerage and risk consultancy MDS Group, spending three years as the CEO of MDS Portugal and six months with MDS Brazil in 2017, where she oversaw a difficult transition after the local CEO had to be replaced.
“It was tough to take over and to reorganize and to let some people go,” she said. “But it was another world, a very different culture, so I learned a lot.”
She proudly took on the challenge when the board of Brokerslink, an association of independent brokers of which MDS is a member, appointed her CEO, creating a new vision for a unified organization called “One Brokerslink” that involves using new technological platforms to better support the members, who operate in more than 100 countries.
When the Brokerslink board looked for a new CEO, it quickly realized it had the perfect candidate in Ms. Legrand, a cosmopolitan renowned for her work ethic,
said Steve Hearn, CEO of Ed Broking LLP in London. She “put her own stamp on the business … and that’s not easy when you have the founder still sitting around the table,” he said. “This isn’t someone who shies away from decision-taking or sugarcoats where it’s not necessary. She has a vision and sold it well.”
As far as women have come in the insurance industry, she says there is still plenty of room for growth. She attended the Insurance Leadership Forum in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in October as a newly appointed member of the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers board and was one of the few high-ranking female participants.
“It is well known that a diverse workforce is driving performance and better decision-making,” she said. “But we are not there yet.”