Marsh & McLennan Agency Western Region CFO, Steve Berk, has spent the last three decades (and counting) with the same company. If words like “predictable” or “uneventful” come to mind when you hear about his long-term tenure with the firm, you don’t know Steve very well. We recently sat down with him to discuss his CFO journey, an unexpected detour into sales, and what he sees as the most important business opportunities CFOs need to navigate today.
After starting his career as a CPA with Deloitte & Touche, Steve joined Marsh where he held various finance roles, ultimately becoming Western Regional CFO in 1992. He enjoyed his years in finance but after the heartbreaking loss of a number of his colleagues in the World Trade Center in 2001 and growing weary of ongoing travel, in 2005, Steve declared a need for a change.
Unwilling to lose a dynamic leader, Marsh asked Steve to run the sales division in Portland. The request seemed unconventional at first, but with his experience as CFO, Steve knew exactly what kept prospects up at night. With his CFO insider knowledge and extroverted personality, Steve proved to be the perfect candidate to reenergize sales. Soon, Steve was made head of sales for Marsh’s Western Region.
Fast forward to Steve’s relocation to San Diego in 2009, his career would soon come full circle. In 2014, Marsh & McLennan Agency acquired Barney & Barney and folded in much of Steve’s Marsh office a year later. With CEO Paul Hering and COO/President Hal Dunning’s roles expanding, Steve was the perfect addition to the team – once again as CFO.
We sat down with Steve to get some insight on his experience as CFO.
How does your sales experience help you in your role as CFO?