‘Most of the time we run into each other – that’s the legacy of the number of acquisitions’

Aon’s new chief executive Rob Brown has outlined plans to bring the components of the UK’s biggest broker closer together as he positions the business for growth.

Brown, whose succession to Peter Harmer was announced last week, said he would make sure the many businesses acquired by Aon in recent years worked as one. “Most of the time we run into each other – that’s the legacy of the number of acquisitions – but we’re looking to create much more unity at the top.

“We will be taking that opportunity to service the needs of clients wherever they are,” he said. This could include the global placement of risks.

Brown said he would continue Harmer’s plans to grow the business, and divide it into different segments. He might accelerate some of those segments.

Harmer, who is returning to his native Australia, will work alongside Brown until September. Brown said the former chief executive’s departure was a personal decision that was not related to his strategy or the performance of the business.

“Whatever time it happened, it was always going to be a big challenge – but I’m up for it,” he said.

Brown’s appointment is subject to FSA and board approval. He was chief executive of Aon Corporate & Affinity, a role he will retain. He will also join the global Aon Risk Services Executive Committee to represent its UK retail business.

The Aon UK management team will get extra support from Aon Risk Services president, Ted Devine.

Brown joined Aon in 2001. Before taking over Aon Corporate in January last year, he was head of risk transfer for Aon Global UK, responsible for programme design and placement for large UK corporate and multinational clients.

Aon chairman Paul Manduca said: “Rob has a deep knowledge of the market Aon operates in, gained from 25 years in the industry. He is a highly regarded practitioner, passionate about his clients and with a reputation for working closely with them to protect and grow their wealth.”