Willis Celebrates 10 Years of Trading on the NYSE
--Company Releases Online Video Highlighting
Broker’s 10 Defining Achievements Since IPO--
New York, June 13, 2011 – Willis Group Holdings (WSH:NYSE) Chairman and
CEO, Joe Plumeri, rang the Closing Bell at the New York Stock Exchange last week
in recognition of the 10th anniversary of the global insurance broker’s public listing on
Plumeri was joined by members of the Willis Board of Directors and the company’s
Executive Committee at the NYSE on Monday, June 6 to commemorate a defining
moment in the broker’s 183-year history.
After an interview with Maria Bartiromo on CNBC’s Closing Bell, Plumeri spoke to
NYSE TV1 on the trading floor saying, “Ringing the bell is like throwing the first pitch
at Yankee Stadium. It’s an unbelievable feeling, and I’m so proud of what Willis has
achieved. We’re here today to celebrate a terrific decade of client service, passion
and shareholder return, which we hope to re-enact in the next 10 years.”
On June 12, 2001, Willis emerged from private ownership under Kohlberg Kravis
Roberts & Co. and made a triumphant return to the NYSE under the leadership of
Plumeri, who took the firm public just eight months after assuming the company’s
The decade that followed was one of the most tumultuous in the history of insurance,
with regulatory upheavals, the global financial crisis and catastrophes like 9/11 and
Hurricane Katrina wiping out billions of dollars from the insurance industry’s balance
sheet. Willis weathered these storms, with its stock price appreciating by over 200
percent since its IPO.
Willis today uploaded a video onto YouTube and Willis.com highlighting its 10 years
as a public company, including 10 key milestones that have defined the Group:
When disaster struck on 9/11, Willis found itself in the middle of one of the
largest insured losses in history. Amid the highly complex and contested
claim proceedings that followed, Willis was publicly praised by its client, World
Trade Center owner Larry Silverstein, for its “herculean” effort.
In 2004, when the insurance industry was rocked by former New York
Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s investigation into broking practices, Willis
emerged a leader in transparency. The company renounced contingent
commissions and issued the Client Bill of Rights, a ground-breaking
document that spelled out Willis’ commitment to the highest levels of integrity.
In November 2005, Willis became the first international insurance broker in
China to be granted permission to hold a majority share in a fully licensed
Launched in 2006, Shaping Our Future, Willis' on-going program of efficiency
initiatives, has changed the way the broker does business, allowing it to
invest in key growth and service projects. The effort resulted in over $150
million of net benefits in three years along with sector-leading results.
In 2008, Willis announced one of the largest M&A deals in the insurance
broking industry: the $2.1 billion acquisition of Hilb, Rogal and Hobbs, then
the eighth largest broker in the U.S. This combination doubled the company’s
footprint in North America, helping to realize Willis’ vision of offering a truly
local retail presence from coast to coast.
Willis changed the London skyline in 2008 with the addition of the iconic and
highly regarded Willis Building on Lime Street, designed by Lord Foster, in the
heart of the City’s insurance district.
A year later, Willis made similar headlines in Chicago when the tallest building
in the Western Hemisphere, the former Sears Tower, was renamed Willis
Tower and put the Willis name front and center in the key Midwest market.
In 2010, the first annual Willis CharityChase raised over $1 million for newly-
launched Willis Foundation, a nonprofit that supports charities in communities
where Willis has a presence. Willis also began its Charity of the Year
campaign in late 2009, raising £140,000 for The Adolescent and Children’s
Trust (TACT). Willis Associates around the world have also raised hundreds
of thousands of dollars for disaster relief in Haiti, Japan and Thailand.
In the spring of 2010, the issues of transparency and integrity came to the
fore again as the ban was lifted on the big brokers’ ability to accept contingent
commissions. Willis was the only global broker to reiterate its firm refusal to
take these forms of payment, and launched a public awareness campaign,
Clients Before Contingents, to point a better way forward for the industry.
10. In 2011, Willis capped an incredible decade by defining what it stands for and
how it serves its clients through The Willis Cause, a simple, powerful
statement of what it means to be the world’s best insurance broker and risk
With an illustrious history, and a Cause that puts clients first, Willis begins its second
decade after the 2001 IPO with a renowned global presence and a limitless future.
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.
# # #