2015 Women to Watch: Victoria DavisonReprints
International chief operating officer
Marsh Ltd., a unit of Marsh L.L.C.
Victoria Davison transitioned to the insurance industry after 18 years in investment banking, a career shift she saw as an opportunity to utilize both her financial know-how and people skills.
“I was drawn to how vibrant the industry is,” she said.
Within her first four years at Marsh Ltd., where Ms. Davison started as chief operating officer for the United Kingdom and Ireland in 2011, she was named to her current role as international chief operating officer.
Today she leads a team of 2,600 employees representing “everyone outside the U.S. and Canada,” she said. Among her achievements are rollouts of new systems and technologies for conducting business, enhancing Marsh's way of interacting with insurers and clients.
She is also an active member in Marsh's women's network, attending industry events for women in insurance, and has helped develop Marsh's senior leadership education program.
As a leader who prefers face-to-face interactions over telephone conversations or email, Ms. Davison spends much of each month traveling to Asia, Latin America, Europe or Africa.
“There's nothing like face-to-face brainstorming opportunities,” she said. “An hour on the phone is not the same as a day in the room.”
Ms. Davison said frequent travel and interaction with clients are among the most interesting and sometimes challenging aspects of her job.
“It's working across such a diverse set of cultures and clients, countries, the diversity in the whole space,” she said. “Every project that we do, you need to think carefully about change, management and adoption; it varies from location to location. The makeup of the clients, colleagues and the culture really influences how people respond to change ... you have to be very sensitive to these human factors.”
Given that, Ms. Davison said, the rollouts of new programs are tailored to the clients and lines of business.
Bill Pieroni, New York-based global chief operating officer for Marsh L.L.C., called Ms. Davison an “exceptional leader ... as demonstrated by the long list of truly remarkable projects she has delivered during the past four years at Marsh.”
“Feedback from her teams and partners highlights the exceptional support she gives them to align all parties to deliver platforms and achieve their objectives,” Mr. Pieroni said in a statement. “She is constantly transferring knowledge and skills and her management team feel fortunate to be working alongside her on these important initiatives.”
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