It’s been an exciting year at Centage, made more exciting thanks to the news regarding our very own John Murdock. Centage announced on September 25, 2018, the appointment of Mr. Murdock to the role of CEO. Having served as Centage’s CRO and EVP for several years, Mr. Murdock is already familiar with and dedicated to Centage, its products and especially its customers. He’s now poised to lead the company into a new chapter and set us on a path as a collaborative and customer-first leader in the FP&A space.
We spent some time with Mr. Murdock to hear, first hand, the perspective that he is bringing to the company as he steps into this important role.
Q: What is your vision for the company?
Mr. Murdock: At a high level, I see this as a brand-new chapter for the company. Not only because I’m assuming the CEO position, but also because of the evolution that is happening inside of Centage as well as in the market. The onslaught of cloud technology, big data, AI, etc. is pushing the pace of business forward, and I see how the expectations of our customers are changing.
This gets into how I lead – I want everyone in Centage to have a voice and play a part in the vision for the company’s future. We have a lot of great people who interact with customers daily. Collaboration is a core principle of mine.
What that means is I want the vision to be shared and for it to be something that everyone is passionate about, whether they’re in support, consulting, sales & marketing, finance or on any other team. We’re still in the planning stages, but we’ll be working across departments to develop a mission and plan that we all can share.
Q: What is your executive style? What’s important to you?
Mr. Murdock: As I mentioned before, collaboration is a key element to my style. I also want our employees to love working at Centage, both for the people and for the work that we’re doing for our customers.
It’s a lofty goal, and I think that collaboration is a big part of loving what you do and where you work. To accomplish those things, we need to foster open communication and break down silos. Those elements also speak to my management style, but they are part of those larger goals of collaboration and being an employer of choice, too.
Q: You’re also very interested in the importance of forward-looking technology, like AI, and addressing the pace of business today. How do those fit into your strategic plans?
Mr. Murdock: I spend a lot of time thinking what things will look like in 5 or 10 years, not just company-wise, but in the world. Maybe that comes from having 2 kids and seeing how they experience and interact with the world and how it can completely change in as little as a few years. I also like to read about technology and different trends. I’m really into science fiction, so maybe that’s where a lot of it comes from.
But it also comes from watching how we interact with customers. What customers expect from us as well as from other companies (even what I expect from businesses I purchase from) has changed. I can’t believe the evolution that has occurred in the last 20 years of my career, and the last 5 have been exceptionally rapid.
This makes me wonder where business planning and budgeting, financial forecasting, data analysis and corporate performance management is going to be in the next 5 years? And how do we position ourselves to lead that? Knowing that there are trends like AI and blockchain that will impact finance and our customers day to day, it’s obviously something we must be attuned to, with the view of potentially integrating these with our solutions.
From there, we can start to look at our processes: how do we operate? How do we interact with customers? How do we sell, market and support our clients? That’s all changing too. As CRO, I spearheaded all sales and marketing efforts, and I saw how things changed and how the lines are starting to blur. Breaking down those silos and instituting a priority on collaboration between departments is going to be vital to staying agile during these changing times.
Q: What is the impact of having been in sales on your vision and style?
Mr. Murdock: Over the past 3 years, I have spent a lot of time talking to CFOs, controllers, and financial teams from hundreds of companies. I’ve recognized the patterns of what they’re asking for. I’ve been listening.
The benefit of having a CEO with deep sales experience is this: You have to deeply know your customers. That’s only going to get more important. The companies that will win out in the next 5 and 10 years are those who know their customers best, those that anticipate their customers’ needs and those that listen and act to meet their customers’ expectations.
Q: What about leadership brings you the most joy?
Mr. Murdock: I really take a lot of pride in helping people develop their careers. I’m lucky that I had great support along the way in my career – good mentors who opened doors for me. I’m looking forward to doing the same for people in Centage. That is what I find most rewarding.
As I’ve said, I spend a lot of time thinking where the market is going to be, where technology is going to be, and where the company is going to be. Thinking about where the individuals in our company are going to be is a natural extension of that.
Even if they’re not a Centage anymore, if team members go on to do really great things, I find that rewarding.
Q: What do you like to do when not in the office?
Mr. Murdock: I have two daughters, ten and thirteen. Spending time with them is my number one priority. I also enjoy listening to podcasts and, as previously mentioned, I’m a big science fiction fan. I also enjoy competing in triathlons and staying in shape.
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