Hear from our Leaders
Aon UK Chief Financial Officer
Please tell us a bit about your career path and how you have reached your current role.
I am currently CFO UK and Global Human Capital Solutions at Aon. I am twenty-two years into a career that began at Benfield Group back in 1998, where I joined the finance team in the Accounts Payable department, completed my accountancy (ACCA) exams and training whilst working at Benfield. I held various finance positions including global head of Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) until the acquisition of Benfield by Aon in 2008.
From 2009, I worked in regional leadership roles Aon Benfield EMEA Finance Director (2009-2010); Aon Benfield International CFO (2010-2014); Deputy CFO for Risk Solutions (2014-2016); and in 2016, I was given the opportunity to relocate to Chicago and move into a non-financial role as Chief of Staff, to Greg Case, CEO, Aon plc - I originally was on a two year assignment, but stayed for three years before returning home to the UK in 2019.
What has been the greatest achievement of your career at Aon?
I have many individual highlights, but I would position my greatest achievement to be my transition and relocation out of Finance roles and being London based, to a Chief of Staff role in Chicago. I spent forty years studying, living and working within a 5/6 mile radius and then moved 4,000 miles away with my family.
I learnt so much from, and played my part in, driving the Aon United strategy, building the New Ventures Group and supporting Greg Case. The opportunity to build new networks, put myself in ambiguous and uncomfortable situations has been invaluable to developing me as a leader and as an Aon colleague.
Why are Early Careers Programmes such a valuable source of talent for Aon?
Early careers programmes allow Aon to showcase our industry, our values and the impact colleagues can make on the world. This in turn allows Aon to attract the best talent and allow both candidate and Aon to check each other out and see if there is a fit in a controlled and effective set of boundaries. It is a win/win situation and allows Aon to ensure we have identified the right diverse talent pools.
Why is a diverse talent pool so important to Aon?
To deliver the potential of Aon United - a differentiating set of values - which leads to bringing the best of Aon to our clients, we need to consistently solve complex client problems to allow them to manage volatility and drive performance. Complex problems need diversity of thought, experiences and skills to be solved and truly add maximum value. For this reason, it is imperative that we have diversity within our colleagues and therefore in our talent pools and in the way we drive diversity, equity and inclusion at Aon.
What makes Aon the right organisation for a candidate to start their career?
At Aon, a fundamental principle is attracting, retaining and developing a talented, committed and global workforce. We are a people business that means that we need to bring in talent and develop them to deliver value to our clients. Aon encourages an environment where people and ideas come together to develop cutting-edge business solutions. We encourage creativity and contributions from everyone. This helps us to understand and integrate diverse viewpoints for the good of all of our clients and employees.
At Aon we’re determined to deliver long-term returns to stakeholders while at the same time maximising value to society and making the world a better place. To do this, Aon is focused on being a sustainable business – one that is “doing well by doing good”. In the UK, our corporate social responsibility activities are concentrated on three areas: the community, diversity and the environment.
How do our leadership team ensure Aon continues to support the inclusive culture that it prides itself on?
As a leadership team, we have to have a clear vision and strategy for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Aon. We have to be role models (“walk the talk”) and drive the business and colleagues to have the right talent strategies, cultural and diversity competence. Also, to ensure that we can measure and hold ourselves and each other accountable for ensuring we deliver our strategy and making Aon a space that it one that everyone can bring their authentic self to work and be the best they can be.
What does the future hold for Aon and the candidates looking to join the firm?
The future (as we have seen in recent months) is one of risk and opportunity, of immense complexity and volatility that will only increase in the coming years (eg climate change; demographics; technology advancements etc). This volatility and risk/opportunity dynamic is one that gives Aon and future Aon colleagues an exciting opportunity to bring world class insights and innovation to clients; to develop in a global firm alongside world class leaders and impacting with fresh ideas.
What would your advice be for candidates applying for a role at Aon?
I would recommend that candidates research what we do, how we impact clients and society and really commit to our values. Be curious and pro active. Showcase your capabilities and experiences and be clear what you can bring and how you can develop.
Bring your whole, authentic self to the front door and be your best. We need diversity of thought, experiences and skills, so be clear how you bring these to the party.