Howden appoints Rowan Douglas as CEO, Climate Risk and Resilience


Read time

London, 27 June 2023 – Howden, the global insurance group, today announces the appointment of Rowan Douglas as CEO, Climate Risk & Resilience, effective 26 June.  Douglas’ role is to continue to build an expert, full spectrum function to support the group worldwide, embedding climate and resilience across its specialities and regions. Charlie Langdale will step up as Chair, Climate Risk and Resilience.  Douglas will be based in London and will report to David Howden, CEO, Howden.  

This appointment is an important step in accelerating the growth of Howden’s climate and resilience capabilities, and preludes further significant investment to create a platform for the future that meets the opportunity and scale of market demand over the coming decades.  Insurance will be at the heart of how economies understand, manage and share these risks across geographies and generations. Howden’s climate and resilience capabilities will span physical risks, the risks associated with de-carbonisation, the wider risks stemming from the low carbon transition and growing legal liability risks faced by public and private sector organisations.

Douglas’ appointment reflects Howden’s commitment that the insurance sector plays a critical role in the world’s response to the climate emergency, including the transition to a low carbon economy and supporting exposed populations and industries.  It follows Howden’s recent announcements on the launch of the world’s first carbon credit invalidation product for the voluntary carbon market and its partnership with Resilient Cities Network. Through other partnerships, including those with the UNCDF and the Danish Red Cross, Howden has helped to enable those most exposed to climate disasters to access pre-financing.

David Howden, Chief Executive Officer, Howden, said: “Tackling climate change requires the most substantial reallocation of capital in history, and insurance has a huge role to play across the mitigation, adaptation and resilience agenda. Meeting the challenge will take a global effort and radical collaboration across all industries, and between both the private and public sectors. 

“To have someone of Rowan’s calibre join us demonstrates not only the credentials of our Climate Risk and Resilience team but highlights our desire to use insurance as a force for good. Our goal is to embed climate and resilience expertise across the insurance value chain, for the benefit both of existing clients and those who do not have access to insurance.”

With more than 30 years of experience in the (re)insurance industry, Douglas brings a wealth of expertise in the field of climate-related risk.  He was previously with Willis Towers Watson (WTW) where, prior to his departure, he led the Climate and Resilience Hub (CRH), which he grew to over 130 climate risk professionals.  At the CRH, Douglas drove the creation of the Insurance Development Forum (IDF), and now chairs its Operating Committee, and incubated the award-winning Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment.  Previously, he served on the board of Willis Re as CEO Analytics, founding the Willis Research Network that began ground breaking work on climate modelling in 2006.  From 2011 to 2016, Rowan served on the UK Prime Minister’s Council for Science & Technology and was awarded a CBE in 2016 for Services to the Economy through Risk, Insurance and Sustainable Growth.

Douglas will continue in his role as Chair of the Operating Committee for the IDF, as part of his commitment to mobilising multilateral and cross-industry cooperation as a means to tackling the complex challenges around climate risk and resilience.

Rowan Douglas, CEO, Climate Risk & Resilience said: “I am thrilled to be joining Howden at this remarkable time in its growth and with climate central to its future development. My decision was driven by the company’s recognition, from the very top, that insurance capabilities are essential to de-risk the climate transition and protect lives, assets and livelihoods. I look forward to working with David, Charlie and the wider team and have already been empowered and enthused by the can-do, collaborative and entrepreneurial culture here at Howden.  Our focus will be on embedding the work of the Climate Risk and Resilience division across all of Howden’s product lines and geographies, ensuring it supports our clients and partners.”