Transitions: February 2016

Check out the latest movements and transitions within the industry this month.

BT Financial Group

BT Financial Group has appointed Sue Houghton as General Manager of Insurance.

Houghton has deep industry experience garnered through executive roles within IAG and Wesfarmers, and will begin the role from 7 March.

“Sue is a highly regarded member of Australia’s insurance industry and we are delighted she is joining our executive to lead the insurance business as it continues to grow,” BT Financial Group Chief Executive brad Cooper says.


The IAG Board has appointed Elizabeth Bryan AM as its chairman, effective 31 March 2016.

Bryan was appointed as a Director of IAG in December 2014 and as Deputy Chairman in June 2015.

Bryan will succeed Brian Schwartz AM, who announced his intention to retire from the Board at the company’s annual general meeting in October 2015 after seven years as IAG chairman.

“I am honoured to have led IAG and I am pleased to have someone of Elizabeth’s calibre succeed me as chairman. I know I am leaving the company in capable hands,” Schwartz says.

Meanwhile, highly respected executive Scott Grove has been appointed as IAG Reinsurance Group General Manager.

Grove has been Managing Director of Aon Benfield for the past four years, and prior to that worked with Guy Carpenter for 18 years.

QBE Australia

QBE has announced Bill Donovan as the new General Manager for New Zealand.

Donovan, who will begin the role on 29 February, has been with QBE for four years as Distribution General Manager for New Zealand, and brings with him more than 40 years’ industry experience.

QBE Australia’s Intermediary Distribution Executive General Manager Jason Clarke says the company was incredibly pleased to have filled the role from within QBE.

“We’re very lucky to have someone of Bill’s calibre, with such a thorough knowledge of our business and strong understanding of our customers,” Clarke says.

Donovan replaces Ross Chapman who last year announced he would be retiring in April.

Willis Towers Watson

Global advisory, broking and solutions company Willis Towers Watson has named Tony Barber as regional head of Australasia.

Leading a newly combined team of around 700 colleagues, Barber will focus on delivering the full range of the company’s services and solutions to clients in Australia and New Zealand.

Adam Garrard, Head of Willis Towers Watson’s International business, said Barber would bring enthusiasm, hard-won experience, and a strong client-first ethos to the key regional role.

“We see a lot of untapped potential in Australasia. Tony is a proven talent who can apply our global strategy across the region through strong leadership,” Garrard says.


Zurich has announced Steven Ord as the new leader for its commercial business in Australia.

Ord, who brings with him a wealth of leadership and industry experience gained from 20 years in the insurance industry, will lead the company’s Commercial Insurance operation in Australia, with a start date yet to be confirmed.

Zurich has also promoted former professional cricket player Jonathan Moss to NSW Commercial State Manager.

Moss joined Zurich as National Partnerships Manager early in 2015. Prior to Zurich he was with Finn Foster APB Insurance Brokers and Chubb Insurance.

Meanwhile, Zurich also announced the appointment of Melanie Schulties and the promotion of Mark Cocks to strengthen its financial lines team in Victoria.

Schulties will become Zurich’s National Directors and Officers Product Manager, and Cocks will join the Corporate team in the role of Corporate Institutions Senior Underwriter.