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KKR Hires Former Willis CEO Joseph Plumeri

KKR & Co., the buyout firm run by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, hired former insurance executive Joseph Plumeri as a senior adviser to help find new deals and to work with portfolio companies.

Plumeri, ex-chief executive officer of Willis Group Holdings Plc, is joining the board of KKR-owned First Data Corp., New York-based KKR said today in a statement. He will work to find and evaluate potential investments, KKR said.

“During his leadership at Willis Group, a former KKR investment, he successfully navigated a series of challenges that confronted both the company and the insurance industry,” Kravis said in the statement. “Joe led the transformation of Willis from a company with an enterprise value of less than $2 billion to one with nearly $10 billion.”

KKR acquired brokerage Alliant Insurance Services Inc. from Blackstone Group LP last year to take advantage of cash flow and low capital expenditures in the industry. Other buyout firms have struck similar deals, including Hellman & Friedman LLC’s $4.4 billion announced buyout of Hub International Inc. this month, the largest takeover of a U.S. insurance broker on record.

Plumeri, 70, stepped down as CEO of Willis, the third-largest insurance broker, in January after 12 years in the post. He served as non-executive chairman of the London-based company through last month.

First Data processes credit- and debit-card payments. The Atlanta-based firm has reported losses in every quarter since 2007 as transactions shrank after the 2008 financial crisis.

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