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Detail skills don't cloud big picture

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Marty Webb, vice president of benefits for AT&T Inc. in Dallas, has earned the respect and admiration of those who work above, alongside and below him.

“He's fearless in terms of willingness to make appropriate changes, be progressive and be sensitive to retiree and employee concerns,” said AT&T Senior Executive Vice President for Human Resources Bill Blase.

Mr. Blase said he gets two to three emails every day from retirees, raising important issues.

“I give it to Marty and never have to see it again, because it's taken care of, so he's willing to do the little things to help people out,” Mr. Blase said.

But Mr. Webb does not get lost in details, said Diana Robinson, Somerset, New Jersey-based executive vice president of sales and accounts at Aon Hewitt, who has worked with Mr. Webb for about 14 years.

“It's very easy to fall into” dealing with day-to-day matters, but Mr. Webb also takes a strategic approach, she said.

“He understands the context like no one else,” said Ms. Robinson, who describes Mr. Webb as thoughtful, deliberate and “very steadying.”

This despite facing challenges 10 times the size that others in his position face because of AT&T's size, she said.

He is “high-performance, low-ego,” said Kristi Savacool, CEO of Aon Hewitt.