It comes as the business announced a war chest of more than £1bn for investment in M&A, new initiatives and talent 

Specialist insurance broker Howden has promoted Peter Blanc to head of mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

In his new role, the former executive chairman of Howden UK and Ireland will support the leadership team to deliver the group’s strategy in building out its geographic reach and product expertise.

He will report to the group’s chief executive David Howden, a statement announcing the move today (24 April 2023) said.

Howden said Blanc was “well-placed” to undertake the position, with him having built-up Aston Lark before it was snapped up by Howden in April 2022.

“It is Peter who, in bringing Aston Lark to Howden, coined the phrase ‘forever home’,” Howden said.

”Having built Aston Lark from the ground up through his well-recognised ability to identify and execute high quality transactions with a deep-rooted cultural alignment, he is obviously very well-placed to support me and our leadership teams in the further development of our very healthy M&A pipeline as we begin the next chapter of our development.”

He added that the business will continue to “focus heavily” on its European reach as well as developing its wider global footprint with acquisitions of “high quality businesses”.

Cash injection

In addition to the move, Howden Group Holdings stated that it raised over £875m across both debt and equity, with total cash and facilities equating to over £1bn available for investment in M&A, new initiatives and talent.

The group also finalised a $500m (£403m) seven-year term loan on 24 March, with more than 60 lenders providing capital.

The business also increased its revolving credit facility from £185m to £360m across a range of banking relationships.

Howden said that with the company’s new “financial firepower”, the firm’s focus had now turned to three ”key areas”.

“[This includes] unlocking the extraordinary value within the group by harnessing our collected power, attracting talent and aligned businesses and investing in our infrastructure to ensure our experts are empowered to do their best for our clients,” he added.