Former Willis executive will lead broker’s search for acquisitions.

Bridge Insurance Brokers has appointed former Willis executive Roger Potts as chairman, as it eyes acquisitions in the North West and London.

Potts, who worked at Willis for 12 years, was most recently chairman of corporate risk at the global broker.

Mike Backner, managing director of Bridge, said: “We’re looking to roll out in London eventually, but in the short to medium term we’re focusing on the North West so that we can integrate the offices.”

Bridge employs 97 people. Backner said there were no immediate plans to expand the headcount unless further acquisitions were made.

Bridge completed the acquisition of Warrington-based Chartwell Insurance Brokers in January. Backner said the business was looking to acquire two more brokers in the next year, targeting those with £5m-£15m GWP.

Bridge currently has a GWP of about £40m and acquisitions would be funded through a mixture of bank borrowing and its own money.

Commenting on the Chartwell acquisition, Backner said: “We brought it into our business, improved economies of scale and we’d like to do some more in the North West.”

Bridge is an independent corporate broker established in 1971 and specialises in credit, environmental and corporate lines.

Any further acquisitions would fit into this business model, added Backner.

Appointing Potts completes a long search to replace former chairman Greg Smith, who retired two years ago.

Backner said: “We’ve always had a chairman to lead the business. Our previous chairman retired two years ago and we’ve been looking for the right man since. Roger Potts is the perfect fit for us in terms of ethos, being very client-focused. We bided our time looking for the right man and he’s perfect.”

Potts said: “With a great team and a reputation for quality client service, we have a unique opportunity to develop and grow the business in both the regional and national markets.”

Potts is currently on gardening leave and will take up his new post in November.