Aon Hewitt Asia

THE SCOOP


A big idea in HR

In 1940, Ted Hewitt opened a small insurance firm in Lake Forest, an affluent northern suburb of Chicago. At first, the firm specialized in financial planning for business executives-but in the process of serving his first client, Hewitt realized that what his client really needed was a better employee benefits package. After its founder's epiphany, Hewitt Associates became a pioneer in human resources consulting, complementing its actuarial services with outsourcing and HR consulting services.

 

During the 1940s, Hewitt created the first noncontributory pension and employee savings plan to be registered with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. A decade later, it became the first consulting firm to measure ongoing investment performance for defined benefit plans. In the 1970s, the firm created the now-standard total compensation measurement methodology to conduct valuations of pay packages. As the firm's prestige grew, so did its geographical presence. After opening several offices in the U.S., Hewitt's first international branch debuted in Toronto in 1976. Locations in France and Great Britain followed in 1985, and a joint venture in Tokyo brought Hewitt to the Asia Pacific region in 1987.

 

Rapid expansion through Asia followed in the 1990s, as Hewitt locations sprouted up all over the region. The firm got its feet wet in India in 1992 with the partial acquisition of a local firm-the total buyout was completed in 1998-and since then, a number of outsourcing centers have opened there. Nearly 20 percent of Hewitt's global workforce is now based in India, and the firm is the leading HR consultancy in the country. Moving into the Australasian region in 1995, Hewitt Australia has now grown significantly in associates and portfolio of services with the March 2008 acquisition of CSi, a leading renumeration firm.

 

Today, Hewitt has 21 offices in the Asia Pacific region with operations in Australia, China, India, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore , Thailand and UAE.   Geographically speaking, Hewitt oversees its Southeast Asian offices (including those in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand) from a headquarters in Singapore. Other regional operations in Australia, China, India, Japan and South Korea have their own headquarters. The company has its regional headquarters in Hong Kong, but Asian leaders are based in different countries throughout the region.

 

Outsourcing pros

 

Hewitt keeps things simple with two business units-human resources consulting and human resources outsourcing-although the firm also offers services integrating both sides of its business. In 2004, the firm acquired Exult, a U.S.-based business process outsourcing ( BPO) company that enjoyed a large chunk of the world's HR BPO market share. The deal gave Hewitt an additional 42 BPO centers in 15 cities around the world.

 

Welcome to China

 

In February 2007, Hewitt launched a global sourcing and business transformation consulting practice in China. The practice helps Chinese firms with organizational restructuring, HR business process reengineering, implementation of shared services and HR delivery consulting. As more multinationals turn to China for outsourcing needs, Hewitt has begun to counsel local and provincial Chinese government bodies on strategies that will make them attractive destinations. The firm has been growing rapidly in China, and the business now operates from offices in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen as well as Hong Kong.

 

Rising up and buying back

 

Hewitt Associates faced a difficult year in 2006, struggling with declining revenues, the retirement of CEO Dale C. Gifford, and the departure of several other top executives. However, since then, the firm has bounced back considerably. The company's 2008 revenue was US$3.2 billion, climbing about 7 percent from the previous year. Consulting revenue rose 16 percent year-on-year, benefits outsourcing revenue climbed 5 percent, and HR BPO revenue increased by 3 percent. Concerning Hewitt's improving finances, in 2007 chairman and CEO Russell Fradin said with relief that "we are beginning to realize the benefits of our stabilization and improvement efforts in the HR BPO business."

 

In August 2007, Hewitt's board also authorized a US$750 million share repurchase program that Fradin described as "more aggressive" than previous programs. By early 2008, Hewitt had bought back about 13.4 million of its outstanding common shares, for a total of around US$454 million. The repurchasing clearly pleased the firm-in November 2008, the board of directors once again authorized a new repurchasing program, this one valued at US$300 million.

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Aon Hewitt Asia


2601-05 Shell Tower, Times Square
1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay
Hong Kong
Phone: +852-2877-8600
Fax: +852-2877-2701
www.hewittassociates.com/Intl/AP/en-AP

STATS


  • Employer Type: Public
  • Stock Symbol: HEW
  • Stock Exchange: NYSE
  • Chairman and CEO: Russell Fradin
  • 2009 Employees: 23,000

Major Office Locations

  • Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Affiliated Companies

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