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Gallagher chief targets top spot through rapid growth

New Arthur J Gallagher Australia CEO Sarah Lyons wants the brokerage to be the biggest in the country.

As reported in a Breaking News bulletin last week, former MD of commercial broking Ms Lyons takes over with immediate effect following the resignation of Andrew Godden, who will join BMS Group.

She told insuranceNEWS.com.au the ambition to be the nation’s “largest and most admired” broker is a “long-term play”, and not a race to the finish line.

“We’re focused on building a high-quality operation with high-calibre talent and capability, backed up by a client experience that is recognised as being the best in market.”

Ms Lyons says Gallagher has grown from fewer than 100 employees in 2013 to almost 1000 today. She says organic sales growth is the top priority, but Gallagher is also a “highly acquisitive” business.

Since December 2014 six acquisitions have been completed, and more are in the pipeline.

“Generally speaking, acquisitions support growth through building specialist capability and a strategic geographic presence,” Ms Lyons said. “We have also been successful in attracting some high-calibre talent hires across all parts of the business.”

Ms Lyons told insuranceNEWS.com.au digital innovation is of “critical importance”.

“Clients and also our brokers are looking to be connected 24/7, and digital makes it easier to do that. This is especially relevant in a claims situation where the timing of responses can be crucial.

“We are looking at digital from a client experience, process and people perspective, where technology makes it easier to do business and creates value in the right way for clients.

“Our focus is on meeting the expectations of clients who are looking to engage with us in different ways and we need to be able to adapt to their preferences as they change and evolve.”

However, she says a clear strategy is required, otherwise companies can lose sight of what needs to be achieved.

“It’s very easy to get lost in the choice of gadgets and gizmos,” she said. “You also need deep pockets to tap into every possibility and there are no guarantees that what works today will be relevant in 12 or 18 months. It’s a fast-moving space and complex in nature.

“We are taking a measured approach, where having increased digital capability genuinely resolves an identified pain point for a client and also enables them to connect with us as and when they need to.”

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