Head of UK broking poached by Aon, while staff exits leave broker vulnerable

Aon has poached the head of UK broking at Heath Lambert in yet another high-profile departure from the London-based broker.

Steve Redgwell has left his post as managing director to become head of broking at Aon's commercial insurance division.

His move adds to a growing list of senior departures from Heath Lambert, including Paul Towler, managing director of financial and professional risk, who has joined JLT, and Charles Meaden, a director in the sports and leisure division.

A market source told Insurance Times: "It appears that taking key individuals and teams, and ultimately business from Heath Lambert, is more preferable than buying the broker outright."

A spokesman for Heath Lambert confirmed that Graham Barr, chairman of product risk, had replaced Redgwell, while Towler's position had been taken by Mark Harding, who becomes chief executive of financial and professional risk.

Chris Wright will continue to head up the sports and leisure division.

In recent weeks FSJ, Heath Lambert's wholesale team, has also been hit by key departures.

Graham Lawrenson, former managing director, joined THB Group as a director, with overall responsibility for its UK wholesale operation.

Lawrenson's second in command, Colin Jackson, also joined the company as divisional director.

It is thought they could be the first of many to leave the Heath Lambert team, which specialises in motor fleet and the pharmaceutical sector and bloodstock and livestock.

Heath Lambert takeover speculation
Fresh speculation has mounted over the future of Heath Lambert after it reportedly pulled out a deal to sell its UK wholesale division.

The broker is thought to have pulled out of negotiations with THB Group, as reported by Insurance Times (News, 15 February), in preparation for an eventual sale.

A senior market source told Insurance Times: "If Heath Lambert is going anywhere with a sale at this point in time it would make far more sense to maintain income for as long as possible while trying to get the sale away."

Towergate has once again been touted as a likely candidate to buy the broker.

But, Peter Cullum, group chairman of Towergate, said: "It's unlikely that we would buy Heath Lambert as the business mix is not our usual style."

Heath Lambert ended talks over a possible £130m merger with Jardine Lloyd Thompson in July 2006.