2019 CEO Outlook - James Bracken, Fortitude - KPMG | PE
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In the reinsurance industry, data-driven insight is critical, with reinsurers having to weigh up risk exposure, make accurate decisions at speed, and respond to a fast-changing marketplace. For James Bracken, CEO of reinsurer Fortitude Re, the exponential growth of data – and the increasing connectivity of the world – is demanding new skills of CEOs. 

“The velocity of information flowing through the system today is significantly greater,” he says.  “Therefore, the ability of people to synthesize and understand that data quickly – and react to it – is likely the differentiating factor that will define those who are successful and those who are not.”

For CEOs, this means they need to be masters of complexity – having a singular vision but with the willingness to understand how disparate areas are inter-connected. “The playbook for CEOs is different today,” he says. “It's a more complex space – more regulated and more interconnected. Because the playbook is complicated, the CEO has to be more complicated: more open to a fast-changing environment and more willing to understand that interconnectedness than people did in the past.”

Given the need for CEOs to embrace this complexity, he is sanguine about CEO tenures getting shorter. “Fundamentally, I believe people should change jobs in a five- to seven-year time horizon, because if they're any good at their job, they should want new challenges,” he says. “As long as it's not disruptive, I think change at the top of an organization, on a regular basis, is a good thing for shareholders.” 

“A key focus for me is the evolving regulatory and policy landscape,” he explains. “It’s a really difficult thing to get your arms around because, at the end of the day, it changes. I think the ability to navigate these issues over longer term — that 5-year plus time horizon is extremely challenging.”

Throughout this document, “we”, “KPMG”, “us” and “our” refer to the network of independent member firms operating under the KPMG name and affiliated with KPMG International or to one or more of these firms or to KPMG International.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewees and survey respondents and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of KPMG International or any KPMG member firm.  KPMG’s involvement is not an endorsement, sponsorship or implied backing of any company’s products or services.

James Bracken