Consultancy Mercer announced it had appointed Gaurav Garg from the property and casualty insurance arm of AIG as regional leader for growth markets globally.

In what is a newly created role, Garg will have two bases – New York and Mumbai – and starts tomorrow. He will be responsible for P&L across Asia, Middle East, Africa and Latin America and will look for business opportunities in new geographies and market segments.

Garg reports to Julio Portalatin, Mercer president and CEO, and will serve as a member of Mercer’s executive committee.

Previously he worked at Chartis, the P&C insurance arm of American International Group, where most recently he was chief executive of Tata AIG General Insurance in India. He joined AIG in 2000 and has held a number of leadership roles with an international focus.

Portalatin himself only joined Mercer this February based in New York and previously worked as president and CEO of Chartis Growth Economies and senior vice-president of AIG. He began his career with AIG in 1993.

A spokesperson for Mercer noted that the firm had decided to update its business structure to align with the long-term trend of economic activity in emerging markets outpacing mature markets. "So this change is about positioning ourselves for faster profitable growth," she says.

Mercer suggests its goal is to unify efforts around the unique characteristics of 20 emerging countries where it operates and therein to leverage cross-market capabilities.

Garg emailed AsianInvestor to say: “This role brings focus on to the growth markets across the globe, which are the world’s fastest growing economies. While being diverse, these markets are also similar in many aspects, though in different stages of the maturity cycle.

“The learning and best practice from one growth market is transportable to another, which just makes this an obvious strategic fit to club these markets together.”

Garg sees his objective as helping clients to advance their staff, providing people management to channel the burgeoning young talent pool in growth markets. “This is where Mercer as an organisation can play a pivotal role,” he notes.

However, the firm is non-specific on whether Garg has a hiring mandate, saying his new role will enable it to assess where more staff may be required across these growth markets.

From 2004 to 2007 Garg was based in New York with AIU, where he had P&L and underwriting responsibility for six regions, including the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, China and Australasia.

Mercer is a wholly owned subsidiary of March & McLennan Companies. It describes its areas of focus as talent, wealth, retirement and investment consulting.

Just last month Mercer announced it had appointed Edmund Teo from Russell Investments to lead its new wealth management team in Asia following a number of departures.

Teo arrived to replace Hansi Mehrotra, who was Mercer’s Asia-Pacific head of WM consulting but left last December and has since joined Hubbis as its managing director for India.

Teo is responsible for a team providing research, advisory and portfolio management to Asia-based private banks, insurance firms, consumer banks and financial planning organisations.