Fee and commission income (2003): £452m
Pre-tax profit (2003): Not supplied
Address: 10 Trinity Square
London EC3P 3AX
Tel: 020 7488 8111
Year established: 1828
Key dates from Willis history:
1828: Henry Willis & Co established
1843: Dumas & Wylie established
1886: Faber Brothers established
1898: Willis, Faber & Co formed by merger
1905: R A Corroon & Co established
1928: Willis Faber & Dumas formed by merger
1963: Corroon & Black Corporation formed by merger
1976: Willis Faber listed on London Stock Exchange
1990: Willis Corroon Group formed by merger
1998: Willis Corroon Group acquired by Trinity : Acquisition
1999: The Group is consolidated under one name, Willis
2001: Willis Group Holdings listed on New York Stock Exchange
2003: Willis celebrates its 175th anniversary
Main lines of business: All major areas of insurance broking
Number of UK branches: 20
Number of UK employees (average for 2003): 4,000
Major shareholders: KKR (7%)
Chief officer: Joe Plumeri
Biography: Since assuming the role of chairman and chief executive of Willis Group Holdings Ltd in 2000, Joe Plumeri has instigated a number of initiatives that have revitalised and re-focused the efforts of this 176-year-old pioneer in commercial insurance broking. Building on Willis's global reputation, Plumeri created a growth strategy that has increased revenues and margins, reduced debt and bureaucracy, and unified the company's 14,500 employees operating in more than 300 locations in more than 75 countries.
Plumeri took the company public in 2001. During that year, Willis was recognised as the third best performing IPO listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Since then, the share price has more than doubled and the number of employees who are also shareholders has grown from 3% to more than 70%.
Prior to joining Willis, Plumeri enjoyed 32 years at Citigroup and its predecessor companies. One of his most notable accomplishments there involved the integration of the consumer businesses at Citicorp and Travelers Group, serving as the chief executive of Citibanking North America. In just one year, he improved the unit's overall financial performance with earnings soaring to $415m, a rise of 400% from $108m in the prior year. Plumeri also served on Citigroup's global consumer planning group.
Plumeri's responsibilities at Citicorp, following the merger that created Citigroup, were in addition to his existing posting as chairman and chief executive of Travelers Primerica Financial Services division, a direct sales company of more than 150,000 independent agents, which he assumed in 1995. During the five-year period under his leadership, the company grew earnings to $550m, from $180m.
Plumeri had been vice chairman of the Travelers Group since 1994. Primerica and Citibank - two of the crown jewels in Citigroup's portfolio - are among the largest financial services operations in the world, with over $100bn in combined assets.
From the start of his career, he progressed rapidly into management positions with predecessor companies of Travelers Group. Notably, he became president and managing partner of Shearson in 1990, and was appointed president of the merged Smith Barney Shearson in 1993.
Directorships/corporate boards: Board of Visitors of the College of William and Mary; The United Negro College Fund; The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse; Commissioner of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority; Velcero, LLC.
Awards: The TC and Elizabeth Clarke Business Medallion from the College of William and Mary School of Business Administration.