Willis North America, a unit of Willis Group Holdings, the global risk advisory, re/insurance broking, and human capital and benefits firm, announced the appointment of John Connolly as life sciences practice leader.

Mr. Connolly has been a key member of Willis North America’s Specialty insurance business since he joined the Company in 2007 and has held senior roles in Willis’s financial and executive risk (FINEX) practice.

In this role, Mr. Connolly will be responsible for the strategic direction of the practice helping Willis to be the leading risk advisor and insurance broker to the life sciences industry.

The practice features deep technical expertise and serves a range of organizations including global pharmaceutical firms, therapeutic commercial research and development firms, medical device companies, medical suppliers, laboratories, testing facilities and private equity-backed start-ups.

Commenting on the appointment, Eric Joost, Chief Operating Officer, Willis North America said, "With the increasingly complex legal, regulatory, economic and M&A environment, the life sciences sector is facing new and emerging risks that need finely tuned risk management solutions. John’s deep background in serving this sector combined with his intense client focus will help us meet the increasingly dynamic needs of our life sciences clients."

Mr. Connolly said, "With its best-in-class analytical capabilities and global platform, Willis stands ready to deliver innovative and seamless solutions to our clients."

Based in Radnor, PA., Mr. Connolly has more than 30 years of experience in the insurance industry. Mr. Connolly assumes the role previously held by David Shuey who retired earlier this year.