Willis is taking legal action after Gordon left to join rival broker JLT along with 21 colleagues

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Willis has promoted Seth Peller to global chief executive of its fine art, jewellery and specie division.

Peller replaces David Gordon who, along with 21 colleagues, left Willis earlier this month to join Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT) Specialty’s specie, fine art and jewellery team.

As a result Willis is suing rival broker JLT for damages in the High Court.

In his new role Peller will be based in London. He will oversee the specie team in the UK, America and worldwide.

Peller has held a number of senior leadership roles at Willis in both mature and emerging markets, including global head of casualty and chief executive of the firm’s Argentina operations.

Willis Group chief executive Steve Hearn said: “Willis has a long and proud history in the fine art, jewellery and specie markets, providing insight-driven, comprehensive risk solutions to clients worldwide.

“We are committed to investing in, and continually improving, our offering to clients under Seth’s strong leadership. As well as knowing the London market inside out, Seth has experience in a diverse range of wholesale and retail markets.

“His technical knowledge and wide-ranging relationships with colleagues, carriers and clients will ensure we remain at the forefront of this highly specialised and increasingly global market.”

Commenting on his appointment Peller added: “Working for the long term benefit of our clients, I want us to challenge the status quo, to innovate and to drive this business forward.

”We will put aside any preconceived notions, and draw on capabilities from across Willis to develop further our global offering in fine art, jewellery and specie. I’m looking forward to leading a business with a fine heritage and an exciting future.”

In a statement yesterday JLT has vowed to defend the legal action by Willis “vigorously”.

Willis applied for an injunction to prevent JLT and Gordon from recruiting further staff from its fine art, jewellery and specie team. But the court did not grant the application, and Willis decided to start legal proceedings.