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Willis appoints four new directors; chairman to leave next year


(Reuters) – Willis Towers Watson PLC, which has been under pressure from activist investor Elliott Management, appointed four new directors on Thursday as it looks to turn around its business following a botched merger with rival Aon PLC.

Inga Beale, the former chief executive officer of Lloyd's of London, is one of the newly-appointed directors, the insurance broker said, adding that industry veterans Fumbi Chima, Michael Hammond and Michelle Swanback are also joining the board.

The company also said Chairman Victor Ganzi would not stand for re-election at the annual shareholder meeting in 2022 after his current term expires.

The announcement comes months after Willis and Aon PLC called off a $30 billion merger that would have created the world's largest insurance broker, topping current leader Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc.

Three of the incoming directors will be a part of a new four-member board committee called the Operational Transformation Committee, which will be focused on the company's turnaround effort.

Ms. Beale, Mr. Hammond and Ms. Swanback will join the board from Jan. 1 next year, while Ms. Chima will assume her role on April 1, the company said.

Willis said Jaymin Patel, a current board member who has held the role since 2013, would step down on Jan. 1.

The planned changes, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, are also supported by activist investor Elliott Management Corp, according to the statement.