Joe Plumeri recruits Martin Sullivan as deputy chairman and head of new unit

Willis has hired Martin Sullivan - the AIG chief executive forced out just three months before the US government bailout - as deputy chairman of Willis Group Holdings and chairman and chief executive of a new business unit, Willis Global Solutions.

As deputy chairman, based in New York City, he will report to Willis chairman and chief executive Joe Plumeri.

Willis said he willassist in managing and shaping the long term growth strategy for the company. He will also work with Plumeri and other senior leaders as a member of the company’s Executive Committee.

In his role as head of Willis Global Solutions, Sullivan will work with Willis president Grahame Millwater to "develop and manage a differentiated service proposition in the large account sector".

The new unit will part of Willis Global, which is currently headed by Millwater, and will oversee brokerage and risk management advisory services for Willis’s multinational and global accounts.

Plumeri said: “Across the length and breadth of the insurance industry, a client would be hard pressed to find a more experienced or skilled expert than Martin Sullivan.

"Martin’s deep, strong and lasting connections to all segments of the insurance industry will be an enormous asset to Willis, working for our current and future clients in the type of role that has earned him well-deserved recognition over many decades in our business.”

Millwater added: “ In his role as chief executive of Willis Global Solutions, Martin Sullivan will be instrumental in delivering a differentiated proposition to multinational clients whose demands for global services are unmet by larger, less nimble competitors in this sector.”

Sullivan added: “In my four decades in the insurance industry, I have always had great admiration for the Willis organization and am delighted to have the opportunity of joining their senior management team.

"I look forward to working with Joe, Grahame and the team in building Willis Global Solutions into a significant service provider responding to the insurance and risk management needs of major companies around the world.”

Martin Sullivan biography

Martin Sullivan, 56, began his career in insurance in 1970 and joined AIU, the non-life UK company of American International Group (AIG), in 1971. He joined the property department of AIU in 1974 and continued to advance in a succession of underwriting and management assignments in the UK and Ireland. In 1993, he was named president of AIU's UK/Ireland Division and managing director of AIG Europe (UK) Ltd. He was elected senior vice president, Foreign General Insurance in 1996 and executive vice president, Foreign General in 1998. In 1996 he was appointed chief operating officer of AIU in New York and named president in 1997. He was elected to the Board of AIG in May 2002. He served as chief executive of AIG from 2005 to 2008.

Sullivan is an associate member of the Chartered Insurance Institute, a fellow of the Institute of Leadership & Management and a member of the Chartered Management Institute. He is also a former president of the Geneva Association and has served as chairman of the US-ASEAN Business Council and currently serves as chairman of the Business Advisory Committees of the St. George's Society and The British Memorial Garden Trust and is on the board of Trustees of the American Associates of the Royal Academy Trust. He is also on the Board of Trustees of the Inner City Scholarship Fund.

Sullivan was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 2007 and an honorary doctorate from Hofstra University. He is married and has three children.