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Joseph Plumeri, Grandson of Sicilian Immigrants, to Lead the 67th Annual Columbus Day Parade in New York City
July 22, 2011 | Frank Fusaro, President of the Columbus Citizens Foundation has announced thatphilanthropist and business leader Joseph Plumeri, Chairman and CEO of Willis Group Holdings, will be the Grand Marshal of the 2011 Columbus Day Parade in New York City
He honored his late son, Christian, through his generosity to the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York, which provided for the development of the school’s Christian Plumeri Sports Complex. As a global business leader who puts integrity first, he established new standards of transparency in the insurance industry and oversaw the development of The Willis Cause and Willis’s unique Client Bill of Rights. A man of great vision, compassion and character, Joe is a builder of communities and is devoted to helping others.”
About Joseph J. Plumeri
Joseph J. Plumeri was born in a blue collar neighborhood in North Trenton, NJ. He is the son of Josephine and the late Samuel J. Plumeri, Sr., a Trenton businessman, entrepreneur and community leader. His grandparents immigrated to the United States from Villalba, Sicily. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in history and education from The College of William and Mary and attended New York Law School.
Plumeri’s corporate life started in 1968 at the small brokerage, Carter, Berlind & Weill. He worked with one of the partners, Sandy Weill, for over three decades as Mr. Weill’s small investment firm transformed, becoming part of Shearson, then American Express, Shearson Lehman Brothers, the Travelers Group and, finally, Citigroup. In 1999, Mr. Plumeri headed the integration of the consumer businesses of Travelers Group and Citicorp after the $70 billion merger of the two firms and served a year as CEO of Citibank, North America. In 2000, he became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the London-based Willis Group Holdings at the request of Henry Kravis and his company, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, which had just acquired Willis. Mr. Plumeri transformed the long-established but sleepy Willis. He took it public, oversaw the construction of a new London headquarters and acquired competitor Hilb Rogal & Hobbs in a massive $2.1 billion merger that doubled Willis’s American presence and solidified its position as the world’s third largest insurance broker. He also negotiated a long-term lease and naming rights to what had previously been Sears Tower, in Chicago, and which is now Willis Tower, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
Plumeri has been honored by numerous civic and philanthropic organizations, including the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation in 2009 for his impact on the reputation of the insurance industry, and by the Jackie Robinson Foundation in 2010 for his career achievements. He also has been honored by the Sons of Italy Foundation (in 2008), the Intrepid Foundation, the Boy Scouts of America, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, among others.
About the Columbus Citizens Foundation
The Columbus Citizens Foundation is a non-profit organization in New York City committed to fostering an appreciation of Italian-American heritage and achievement. The Foundation, through a broad range of philanthropic and cultural activities, provides opportunities for advancement to deserving Italian-American students through various scholarship and grant programs. During the 2011-2012 school year, the Foundation is providing just under $2 million in scholarship assistance to over 500 students. The Foundation organizes New York City's annual Columbus Celebration and Columbus Day Parade, which has been held under the auspices of the Foundation since 1944.
(pictured starting from top: Joe Plumeri; Andrew Cuomo at the 2009 Columbus Day parade; Joe Plumeri, Bill Clinton)
Sources of text: Columbus Day Foundation, Willis
Joe Plumeri's remarks at William & Mary
"The 'insurance guy' standing before you was once a rare Italian American on campus. On my first day, my English professor read the roll and called out "Pulmonary." No one answered. I realized he meant me. I spoke up. And this is virtually the first thing I ever said on this campus: 'Professor, I am not an artery'. . . My grandfather came here on a boat from Sicily, arriving at Ellis Island. He figured the best way to become an American was to do American things. So he pursued an unlikely career in baseball: with a thousand dollars he recruited Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig to barnstorm the country, the diamond heroes inspiring kids at every stop."
Last updated on July 22, 201 1| CiaoAmerica.net|