Japanese Officials Visit Willis to Hail $200,000
Global Fundraising Effort for Japan Relief
NEW YORK, June 10, 2011 — Ambassador Shigeyuki Hiroki, Consul-General of Japan in New York, yesterday visited
Lower Manhattan to thank Joe Plumeri, Chairman and CEO of Willis Group Holdings (NYSE: WSH), and
the employees of the global insurance broker for contributing $200,000 for Red Cross relief efforts in
Japan as part of an online fundraising campaign conducted by the company.
During a ceremony in the company’s offices at One World Financial Center, Mr. Plumeri praised the generosity
of more than 1,000 Willis employees from around the world who participated in the two-month Willis
Japan Relief Fund, and whose contributions were matched dollar-for-dollar by Willis. A video with highlights from
the event can be found on the Willis Group YouTube channel.
Pictured from left to right are: Joe Plumeri, Alice O’Rourke and Ambassador Shigeyuki Hiroki.
Over 100 of those employee-donors were on hand to hear Ambassador Hiroki, Mr. Plumeri and Alice O’Rourke,
Divisional Fundraising Vice President of the American Red Cross, speak about the progress of relief efforts
in the earthquake and tsunami-ravaged nation. The audience was entertained by the Men’s Glee Club of
New York, which comprises Japanese expatriates.
Speaking at the event, Ambassador Hiroki said, “The Japanese people, myself included, were inspired and gratified by
the strong moral and material support extended by the Willis Group, by the United States and
other friends around the world.” The Ambassador thanked “the many Associates of Willis Group who, through
their individual efforts, moved their company to contribute as well”.
Thanking Willis Associates for their fundraising efforts and handing over the $200,000 check to Ms. O’Rourke, Mr.
Plumeri said, “The $35 billion insured loss from the Japanese disaster and the estimated total economic
loss of $300 billion pales in comparison to the immense human tragedy caused by the Tohoku
quake and tsunami.
“Every day, as professionals, we help our clients mitigate their risk. But we also react in a
very human way in these dire situations when risk can’t be avoided. You pray that programs
like ours aren’t needed. And yet, time and again, when nature wreaks havoc on people and
places like Japan and Haiti, where an international response is crucial, the Associates of Willis show
through their generosity an inspiring example of global citizenship.”
“Thanks to donations from companies like Willis Group, the American Red Cross is the largest private, international
contributor to the continuing relief efforts in Japan,” said Ms. O’Rourke. “It is especially humbling to
see generosity like this come from the Willis Group and its employees. Their contributions will go
a long way toward helping provide food, shelter and emotional support for those affected.”
Willis’ history of doing business in Japan dates back more than a century. When the devastating 9.0-magnitude
Tohoku earthquake struck on March 11 this year, Willis moved quickly to ensure that all of
its 40 staff in Japan were safe and that business continuity was maintained for its clients
by flying in an emergency response team to the Tokyo office and relocating staff to a
back-up office in Kobe. The Willis Japan Relief fund was launched by Mr. Plumeri in the
days following the disaster and was quickly embraced by the company’s 17,000 employees who wanted to
help the people of Japan.
A special web site was set up to allow Willis employees around the world to make their
contributions to the global Red Cross Japan relief effort, which has raised a total of over
$2 billion to date. More than 1,000 Willis Associates around the world contributed whatever they could,
from $1 to $5,000, during the two-month appeal. Donations averaged $100 each and reached a total
of $100,000. Adding in the company’s match, the total rose to $200,000.
Willis Associates contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars via a similar fundraising program following the Haiti earthquake
last year, and the Group raises funds for other charities around the world through a Charity
of the Year campaign in the UK and The Willis Foundation, a nonprofit corporation affiliated with
Willis Group Holdings in North America.
Willis Group Holdings plc is a leading global insurance broker. Through its subsidiaries, Willis develops and delivers
professional insurance, reinsurance, risk management, financial and human resource consulting and actuarial services to corporations, public
entities and institutions around the world. Willis has more than 400 offices in nearly 120 countries,
with a global team of approximately 17,000 employees serving clients in virtually every part of the
world. Additional information on Willis may be found at www.willis.com.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half
of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and
their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and
depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more
information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.
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