The Worldwide Broker Network (WBN), the world’s largest global network of independent insurance and benefits brokers, has appointed Olga Collins as its CEO, effective 12 April.
Collins joins WBN from member firm Beecher Carlson, where she has led its Multinational Practice for the last seven years. Previously, she spent 15 years at UPS serving as a risk manager.
She has been a member of the WBN Board of Directors since 2019 and is head of WBN’s Young Professionals Academy. She has also been recognised in a number of industry awards including Elite Women, Power Broker, Hot 100, and Women to Watch.
She will succeed Francie Starnes in the role, who will serve as CEO Emeritus through 2021. According to the network, Starnes has had a “distinguished” career in multinational insurance, with four decades of experience in the industry.
Starnes joined WBN after a 23-year career at AIG. Over the last five years, she has “significantly” transformed WBN by establishing a comprehensive headquarters operation and building a professional leadership team.
WBN membership has also expanded during a period of “intense consolidation” in the broking industry, whilst “maintaining its rigorous framework for member-firm quality and stability”.
Alex Gilmore, chairman of WBN’s board, said: “I’m delighted that we have attracted a leader of Olga’s caliber as our next CEO. The WBN Board followed a rigorous selection process including engaging external executive search and as a result we have not only selected an outstanding candidate but one that has such an excellent understanding of our network.
“Olga’s impressive track record of building international insurance relationships and her time as a risk manager gives her a deep understanding of client needs. This is an exciting moment for WBN, as we expand and further strengthen our network as the insurance and benefits broker network of choice for multinationals, and Olga is the ideal candidate to lead us forward.”
He added: “We are grateful to Francie for her commitment and creative leadership, which together with her disciplined approach to financial strength, has been instrumental in the growth and composition of WBN.
“Francie’s governance during the pandemic, particularly in transforming our global conferences to virtual events, has been outstanding. We are fortunate to have a comprehensive CEO succession process with Francie’s future contributions as CEO Emeritus.”
Starnes said: “It has been a privilege to lead WBN and to work with so many talented and dedicated individuals. I’m immensely proud of the work of the entire WBN HQ team and the value we created together for members, clients and sponsors.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Olga closely since 2018. Olga is an exceptional and proven leader and I am very optimistic about the future of WBN under her leadership.”
Collins added: “This is an exciting time to be taking the reins at WBN. As we emerge from the pandemic, WBN will be helping members to grow their business and seize opportunities that economic changes will bring.
“WBN’s goal is to support members as they help their clients manage risk, protect their businesses and support benefits for their workforces—a winning combination to allow them to grow faster and stronger. I’m looking forward to getting started and building upon such a solid foundation.”