05 July – LONDON
Thomsons Online Benefits, the global benefits management and employee engagement software company and a wholly owned subsidiary of Mercer, announces the appointment of Stephen Read as Chief Executive Officer, effective today. The announcement is part of a planned succession strategy and follows six months of strong growth for Thomsons following its acquisition by global consulting firm Mercer. As planned, Founder Michael Whitfield will be stepping away from the day-to-day management of Thomsons to focus on supporting the people and client strategy in the newly created role of Chief Culture Architect. Chris Bruce continues as Founder and Managing Director with a focus on global accounts and geographic expansion.
“Our acquisition of Thomsons reflects our belief in the importance of a customer experience that is both global and digital at its core,” said Jacques Goulet, President of Health & Wealth for Mercer. “Thomsons’ growth in the first half of 2017 reflects our commitment to bring the best of both firms together to accelerate the pace of transformation in benefits technology.”
Stephen Read has been Chief Commercial Officer of Thomsons since November 2014. Over the last two and a half years, he has led the commercial strategy and overseen growth both in the UK and internationally. He will lead Thomsons with a focus on the growth and development of Darwin, its award-winning SaaS technology platform.
“Employees expect their benefits to be personalised, automated and mobile enabled. Employers want to maximise engagement, return on investment and support their employees’ health and financial wellbeing,” said Stephen Read. “We are leading the transformation in employee benefits with the best technology in the market and the best people, who make a difference clients can feel. It’s a privilege to take the helm of a business with such strong values, backed by a purpose-driven global consultancy like Mercer.”
“Chris Bruce and I are both very excited that the business we created 17 years ago is thriving within Mercer and will now be led by Stephen,” said Michael Whitfield. “He brings huge integrity, strategic thinking, and entrepreneurial zeal to the role of CEO. Stephen has been instrumental in establishing Thomsons as a highly successful SaaS business and a leader in the global benefits technology space. As founders, we are confident he is that special person to lead, nurture and develop this business in the next stage of its journey.”
Since the acquisition by Mercer, Thomsons has won major new clients within both the global enterprise and corporate market including ARM, Procter & Gamble, Uber and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. The award-winning Darwin platform continues to attract high growth companies and online leaders and is also expanding into established retail, pharmaceutical and FMCG markets. Darwin has been rolled out in 12 new countries including Brunei, Estonia and Pakistan bringing the total number of markets served to 86.
Darwin has been enhanced with new functionality including Reimbursement Manager, which enables an à la carte menu of benefits for employees and automates the whole selection and sign on process. This allows employers to deliver benefits programmes that wouldn’t be possible without the technology, by enabling employees to choose additional rewards such as language courses and gym membership.
Stephen has worked in high-growth, business-to-business, HR services and technology companies for over 25 years. He joined Thomsons from CEB, the insight and advisory firm, where he was Executive Vice President of CEB’s SHL Talent Measurement Solution with responsibilities for operations in the UK & Ireland. Prior to CEB, Read held a number of international leadership roles in SAP, Sony and IBM and also worked in private equity and venture capital backed firms.
About Thomsons Online Benefits
Thomsons Online Benefits is a SaaS provider of global employee benefits and employee engagement software. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mercer, a global consulting leader in advancing health, wealth and career. Mercer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC). Thomsons’ award-winning platform, Darwin™, is the global market leader for automated employee benefits administration. With over 1 million worldwide users, Darwin™ connects employees with their benefits in over 86 countries and 24 languages. By using the right combination of editions, Darwin™ provides a tailored solution to meet a variety of employee benefit and reward needs, including employee engagement, managing risk, controlling costs and streamlining benefits administration. Its ability to constantly evolve and cater for shifting workforce needs has made it the provider of choice for seven of the world’s top ten technology companies. Thomsons has received 109 industry awards, including the prestigious Brandon Hall Group gold award for Best Advance in Rewards and Recognition Technology in 2015, and the latest win, Most Effective Use of Benefits Technology at the Employee Benefits Awards 2017 for our work with Bristol-Myers Squibb. Mercer and Thomsons combine world class consulting and broking with innovative technology that is driving transformation in the way that benefits are designed, communicated and administered.
Mercer is a global consulting leader in health, wealth and careers. Mercer helps clients around the world advance the health, wealth and performance of their most vital asset – their people. Mercer’s more than 20,000 employees are based in more than 40 countries and the firm operates in over 130 countries. Mercer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), a global professional services firm offering clients advice and solutions in the areas of risk, strategy and people. With 57,000 employees worldwide and annual revenue exceeding $13 billion, Marsh & McLennan Companies is also the parent company of Marsh, a leader in insurance broking and risk management; Guy Carpenter, a leader in providing risk and reinsurance intermediary services; and Oliver Wyman, a leader in management consulting. For more information, visit www.mercer.com. Follow Mercer on Twitter @Mercer.