Replacement expected to be an internal appointment

Aon was poised to announce a replacement for outgoing chief executive Peter Harmer as Insurance Times went to press on Tuesday.

The UK’s largest broker was awaiting FSA approval for what was expected to be an internal appointment.

Harmer’s departure was announced, to the surprise of the market, last week. He is returning to his native Australia after two-and-a-half years in the top job but is not expected to work for Aon Australia.

He said: “I have truly enjoyed my time in the UK and am delighted that the progress we have made in implementing our strategy has allowed me to return home a little sooner than originally planned.”

Following his departure, Aon Risk Services president Ted Devine will offer support to the UK team, while chief executive of Aon Corporate & Affinity, Rob Brown, steps up to represent UK retail on the global Aon Risk Services Executive Committee.

Devine said: “Our biggest opportunity as a firm comes from building a fully coordinated broking platform that connects our international placement centres, our global specialties and our leading edge analytics.”

In an interview with Insurance Times earlier this month, Aon chairman Paul Manduca said the board was preparing to scrutinise Harmer’s plans to restructure and expand the business.

He said: “Peter has got his architecture in place and the board will be looking to see how that’s going to grow the business over the next three to five years.

“Any new structure needs to generate revenue growth – it’s a tough time to do that because our customers are feeling the pain and looking at everything they spend money on . . . The test of what Peter’s put in place is whether it will generate the kind of revenue the board is looking for.”

A spokesman said this was not linked to Harmer’s departure.

Harmer was also the chairman of the London Market Reform Group.