Decisive steps were announced this morning in the succession of the 12-year tenure of Willis chairman and CEO Joe Plumeri.

Willis’ board of directors has announced that Dominic Casserly will take over as Willis Group CEO, effective Jan. 7, 2013. Also, Steve Hearn, who was also promoted to chairman and CEO of Willis Global at the start of this year, is being appointed deputy CEO of Willis Group.

“The Board of Directors, which has now concluded a rigorous and thorough search for our next CEO, is thrilled to welcome Dominic Casserley to Willis. We think Dominic will be an extraordinary leader for Willis, just as Joe Plumeri has been,” said Sen. Bill Bradley, managing director of Allen & Co. LLC and Willis’ presiding independent director.

Plumeri, who has served as chairman and CEO of Willis Group since 2000, led the company back to public ownership and steered its global expansion during his 12-year tenure. He will serve as non-executive chairman through July 2013. For his role at Willis, Plumeri was named “The Insurance Leader of the Year” in 2006 by St. John’s University, and was named one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Finance” by Treasury & Risk Magazine in 2009 and 2010.

“Willis is indebted to Joe for his passionate stewardship of our firm spanning more than a decade in which Willis delivered unrivaled shareholder value among our peers. We are also grateful that Steve Hearn, a great broking industry leader within our own ranks, will step up as Dominic’s partner and deputy CEO to help bring Willis to the next level,” Bradley added.

Casserley is currently a senior partner of McKinsey & Company, which he joined in New York in 1983. During his 29 years at McKinsey, Casserley has been based in the U.S. for 12 years, Asia for five and, since 2000, has been working across Europe from London. During his time at McKinsey, Casserley led the firm’s Greater China Practice and its UK and Ireland Practice. Following a transition period in 2013, Casserley will be based in Willis’ New York office.

Over the past year, there have been several shake-ups at the executive level, including almost exactly a year ago when Willis suddenly found a vacancy in the c-suite.

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