Back in 2014, when FM Global wanted to entice finance executive Kevin Ingram to move back to the U.S. from England, the UK finance director was offered a position that no one at the company had ever heard of before.
“My CEO came to me and said, ‘It’s called Senior Vice President of Corporate Services—that means nothing to anybody, but I love it because that means that I can put anything I want there and no one can tell me that it doesn’t belong,’” explains Ingram, who adds that the newly created role would grow to include business analytics, business risk consulting, capital management, and risk management, as well as other areas.Read More
Still, to the outside world, the “corporate services” title was arguably somewhat vague and perhaps not what a top executive might have had in mind after 25 years with the same company.
Says Ingram: “I was never looking to leave. It was really just a question of when the right opportunity was going to present itself and what else I would do if one did not.”
Two years later, when Ingram stepped into FM Global’s CFO office, his promotion no doubt further validated the corporate services position, not to mention Ingram’s willingness to add some extra rungs to his career’s climb per leadership’s request.
In the corporate scheme of things, the management of org charts sometimes requires CEOs to summon the instincts of air traffic controllers—who’ll never hesitate to institute a holding pattern in order to make certain that everyone is ready for takeoff. –Jack Sweeney
CFOTL: Tell us about FM Global. What does the company do, and what are its offerings?
Ingram: Plain and simple, all we do is insure large commercial properties—but we aren’t your typical insurance company that just provides capacity. We have a couple thousand engineers who work for us by going out to inspect our insured properties, our locations, the facilities that we insure. We do about 60,000 inspections a year. These engineers will go out there, they’ll inspect the facilities, they’ll write a loss prevention report. We’ll use this loss prevention report to help our clients to make their facilities more resilient, more robust—to help them avoid loss—because at the end of the day, it’s in the client’s best interests, along with our own, to never have a loss.Read More
We’re always going to try to help our clients. We have a research facility where we do all kinds of research about how to protect properties from natural hazards or fires or explosions or whatever the case may be. We have a lot of empirical information relative to our research, so we’ll take that and leverage it on the engineering side to then bring it out to our clients. This then really helps them to make their businesses more resilient, more robust.
CFOTL: After you stepped into the CFO role, did make any changes? Did you reorganize Finance?
Ingram: Having been with the company for as long as I had at the time, I did not expect to make—nor did I make—any wholesale changes. Still, all but one of my direct reports and entire management team have changed in the 5 years since I’ve been in the job. One thing that I did do early on was to bring in a global tax manager. It used to be that tax was just something that we did as part of our treasury function, but this did not make sense for us anymore, as we had grown so big.
I brought in a global tax manager from the outside. I moved someone from our international operations in Luxembourg back over to the U.S. I put somebody else in as treasurer. I brought someone in from the UK to run our internal audit branch group for us. I changed the management team over about a 2-year period of time just to really up the skill level of management, especially in the next level down in the organization, to help us from a succession planning perspective as we go forward.
Value Quote: “We always need to be asking ourselves, ‘What are we doing to write new accounts to replace any churn and ensure that the business is still able to grow the top line in a managed way?’ This means having the right policyholders that are focused on risk improvement and doing the right things from a business perspective.”
FM Global | www.fmglobal.com| Johnston, RI