Bala Viswanathan to become Mercer's Chief Operating Officer

11 December 2018 3 min. read
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Global consulting firm Mercer has appointed Bala Viswanathan as its Chief Operating Officer. A former CEO of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group’s UK & Ireland Employee Benefits, he will report to President & CEO Julio Portalatin, and will also become a member of Mercer’s Global Executive Leadership Team.

Mercer is the world's largest investment consultancy and makes up the UK's 'Big Three' alongside Willis Towers Watson and Aon Hewitt. Together, the trio dominate the market for advising pension funds and other institutional investors, to such an extent that the companies have been under sustained scrutiny, particularly in the UK, regarding their grasp on the sector.

Despite this pressure, Mercer has remained keen to push ahead with expansion plans. Earlier in 2018, this saw UK insurance broker Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT) become part of US professional services group Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC) – which owns Mercer – pending the closure of a £4.3 billion takeover. While thousands of jobs could reportedly be on the line as the new ownership seeks to absorb the cost of the acquisition, but the move could also see the merging of Mercer and the employee benefits wing of JLT, resulting in a number of staff moving over following the purchase.

Bala Viswanathan to become Mercer's Chief Operating Officer

As this process continues, Mercer has announced today that Bala Viswanathan, the CEO of JLT’s UK & Ireland Employee Benefits, will join Mercer as Chief Operating Officer. His appointment will become effective when the purchase of JLT closes, with the transaction remaining subject to the receipt of certain antitrust and financial regulatory approvals. Pending those confirmations, Viswanathan will report to President & CEO Julio Portalatin and also become a member of Mercer’s Global Executive Leadership Team.

Prior to his current role, Viswanathan served as JLT’s Chief Operating Officer, and has a long track record of successfully leading global business operations. As Chief Operating Officer at Mercer, Viswanathan will work across Mercer to drive enhancements to the company’s offshore, technology and systems capabilities as well as client satisfaction and user experiences.

Commenting on the new arrival, Mercer CEO Portalatin said, “His successful career at JLT and his understanding of both operations and the global employee benefits market will further enhance our industry leadership, client relationships and organizational effectiveness. He will be a valued addition to Mercer’s executive team.”

Viswanathan himself added, “I look forward to taking on the COO role at Mercer and adding my perspective and insights to the strategic direction and success of the firm.”

Related: Benoit Hudon appointed UK Head of Wealth at Mercer.