Nawaf Hasan has called for his former employer to show ‘real contrition’

Nawaf Hasan, a former employee at global insurance broker Gallagher, has called for the organisation to publicly apologise for racist and religious slurs made against him by chief executive Simon Matson and another senior leadership team members.

Hasan was one of four employees involved in Gallagher’s legal action against rival firm Ardonagh; it accused the fellow broker of poaching employees from its subsidiary Alesco.

Last week a high court judge dismissed Gallagher’s case against Ardonagh, slamming Gallagher’s international commercial director, Vyvienne Wade for making “a wholly gratuitous and in context grossly insulting reference” to Hasan’s faith, as stated in the final verdict statement of the Gallagher v Ardonagh case.

Race row

As reported by Insurance Times, the court heard how Wade made reference to the Qur’an when speaking about Hasan in an email exchange with Gallagher’s chief executive, Simon Matson, writing about “awaiting 72 virgins”.

Matson was also in the spotlight, with the judge finding him to be “a particularly partisan witness who leapt to positions which were unmeasured and who was quick to anger”.

The judge added that ”It may have been a part of the culture, and he may now regret that he used it, but the inflammatory language used by him at the time of the departures of the departing employees was all part of the exaggerated reaction to what had occurred.”

Justice Freedman dismissed nearly all of Gallagher’s claims. The judge held up only one claim of Gallagher and Alesco, meaning Ardonagh faced damages of only £100,000 out of nearly £10m claimed. Gallagher will now have to pay £3.1m towards Ardonagh’s legal costs.

Issuing apology

In relation to Hasan specifically, the case saw the broker referred to as a “complicated fat Arab” in a WhatsApp message from Matson; Gallagher’s chief operating officer Gary Lashmar responded with “and a very greedy one”.

Hasan is now demanding that Gallagher publicly apologises for the racist language used against him in order to show contrition for past behaviour.

In a public statement, Hasan, chief executive of Middle East and North Africa, Price Forbes, said: 

“I am glad the case if over and pleased for my colleagues at Ardonagh who have continued to build a brilliant business despite this pointless attack.

“I was shocked and hurt by the racist and Islamophobic language used by former colleagues who continue to hold senior positions at AJ Gallagher and in light of the comments, I fully expect a public apology from The Gallagher Group. The judge was right when he said they were like fanatical football supporters.

“There should be no place where abusive and racist language is acceptable.

“I’m moving on with my career and do not wish to comment further.”