Joe Plumeri hides UK roots as anger mounts at “Big Willie”

Willis's chief executive Joe Plumeri has insisted the US needs “More information about the company's lack of Britishness,” to counter critics of Willis renaming the 110-storey Sears Tower in Chicago, the Guardian reports.

An online petition condemning the change has attracted 33,000 signatures. A Facebook group attacking the new name has 95,000 members and the letters pages of Chicago's papers have been peppered with scornful digs at the building becoming "Big Willie".

The Guardian adds: “Plumeri omitted to mention that the company was founded as a marine insurer in London's Docklands in 1828. Or that it famously provided cover for the Belfast-built Titanic. Or that it went public on the London Stock Exchange in 1976. Or that the Duke of York opened its new global headquarters in Lime Street, smack in the middle of the Square Mile, last year.”