- London-based advisory insurance and risk management broker Willis Towers Watson has rehired Andrew Krasner, a former executive, as CFO, part of its effort to realign its strategic priorities following its attempted merger with Aon, which failed because of antitrust concerns.
- Krasner has been the CFO of insurance brokerage AssuredPartners for six months. Before that, he spent nearly 12 years in various finance leadership roles at Willis Towers Watson, most recently as its global treasurer and mergers and acquisitions head. Before that, he worked in finance at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deutsche Bank and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He succeeds WTW’s CFO of four years, Michael Burwell.
- The CFO seat is just the latest in a string of executive changes at the firm following the dissolved merger. Earlier in August, the company announced its head of investment, risk and reinsurance business would be assuming the CEO role in January, and assembled a Global Leadership Team with a fleet of new hires.
Krasner’s return comes at a critical time for his former employer; following pressure from the U.S. Department of Justice, earlier this summer, Aon and WTW announced plans to call off their merger, which had been valued at over $30 billion.
The companies first announced plans for the merger in March 2020. In June 2021, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against it, saying the combination would result in eliminated competition, higher prices and reduced innovation for the consumers relying on the organizations.
“American companies and consumers rely on competition between Aon and Willis Towers Watson to lower prices for crucial services, such as health and retirement benefits consulting,”
Attorney General Merrick Garland said in the lawsuit. “Allowing Aon and Willis Towers Watson to merge would reduce that vital competition and leave American customers with fewer choices, higher prices, and lower quality services.”
The proposed merger would combine two of the “Big Three” insurance brokers, the complaint alleged; Aon and WTW already operate “in an oligopoly” and would only gain greater leverage as a combined unit.
Next week, WTW is hosting an investor day, at which they will address analyst concerns regarding the new hires and a potential new post-fallout operating strategy.
“The outlook for Willis Towers Watson as a standalone company is expected to be positive once the company has outlined its new strategy,” Gregory Peters, a managing director at investment bank Raymond James & Associates, told the Wall Street Journal. “The operating environment for well-run insurance companies is favorable.... This is a transitory period.”
Representatives for WTW and for Krasner declined CFO Dive’s requests for an interview.