An interview with Michael O'Halleran, non-executive chairman of Aon Re Global.
Choose four adjectives to describe yourself.
A people-person, modest, focused and a team player.
Which historical figure do you most admire and why?
Both Mayor Daleys of Chicago - both the current Mayor Daley and his father because they get the job done with passion, great execution and vision.
Who in this industry do you most admire and why?
That would be Pat Ryan. He has incredible vision. He understands how to take the appropriate amount of risk, he has incredible intellect and people skills and he's a great executioner.
Outside of this industry what issue are you most passionate about?
I really believe in giving back through charitable organisations and particularly those that are focused on education and children's issues.
What qualities do you most admire in other people?
People who are good listeners, who are caring and passionate.
What qualities do you most dislike in other people?
People who are self-centred and greedy.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started in this industry?
I didn't realise there would be so much change. I think change has been consistent throughout my career but I consider it to be good. It does put a lot of pressure on the body and the mind, but when you have change you are able to be a leader and in a very positive way.
“I woudl like to be the dictator of the United States for a day and mandate the federal oversight of the insurance industry
What was the last thing that completely surprised you?
I think that was being the recipient of the Ellis Island Award. Ellis Island in New York is where untold numbers of immigrants began new lives in the United States. These awards are given to 100 Americans each year, reflecting their leadership and various other aspects of their career but also the fact they are descendants from other lands. It was truly a humbling experience and one I was very much surprised about and honoured to be a recipient of.
How do you unwind at the end of the day?
First of all I enjoy being with my family - my son, daughter and wife. I love being with my friends and colleagues and I enjoy a good game of golf. I basically just love being with people and enjoying their company.
What motivates you on a Monday morning?
I love the beginning of the week because it's the beginning of a new opportunity to change and lead - whether it's in business or any other aspect of life. So Mondays for me can never be grey. There's always something to look forward to in the week.
Whose job would you most like to have and why?
I would like to be the dictator of the United States for a day and mandate the federal oversight of the insurance industry.
What is your biggest regret?
That I can't spend more time in each of Aon Re Global's offices. It's a vast organisation, and I learn so much when I'm out with the people and with our clients and I'd just like to be able to do more of it. My only regret is that I just can't get to as many places as I'd like to. That's why the Rendez-Vous in Monaco is fantastic! I really enjoy it - it's fast paced and a beautiful place to be with lots of great people. You've got a central area where in a relatively short period of time you can see an incredible number of people - it's terrific.
What are you most proud of having achieved?
My biggest source of pride is first my family followed by the fact I started Aon Re almost 20 years ago. Like any organisation that starts from scratch, the embryonic days were very much about building and growing and bringing on great people through to watching it become the biggest in the industry and being able to lead it. It's just been a tremendous joy to me.
What factors have enabled you to get where you are today?
The key factors for me are hard work, getting along with people, taking the appropriate amount of risk and a lot of luck.