Sherwood International (Armonk, NY), after the slowing economy resulted in slower-than-expected growth, has eliminated regional senior manager positions in an effort to shorten decision-making cycles and devote more resources to research and development. As a result, Steven Bessellieu, who was named president of North America for Sherwood International in May of last year, has left the company.
"Essentially, we geared up the company for anticipated growth that didn't happen, so we were top-heavy," says Martyn Lambert, chief marketing officer, Sherwood International. "We concluded that we had too many senior managers and we needed a flatter, leaner-and-meaner and lower-cost structure." Bessellieu's counterpart, Steve Dean, director of sales operations, international region, was also a casualty of Sherwood's move.
Taking over for Bessellieu and Dean will be Barney Quinn, a longtime Sherwood executive and currently worldwide director of sales. "The people that used to report to Steve will report to Barney Quinn," Lambert says. "As a result, we will have a faster decision-making process. If you are a sales person, there is only one person between you and the board of directors."
However, Lambert says that Sherwood International is not shifting the focus of the organization and that in the North American market it will continue to focus solely on insurance. In addition to a leaner organization, Lambert also says that the move was designed to provide more resources for research and development. "The 'de-layering' will enable us to invest more in research and development and will enable us to enter into a number of different technology areas," including agency and commission technology, as well as claims management, he says.
"Our R&D budget has been increased 30 percent this year," Lambert adds. "We have done the homework and these are areas that insurance companies are focused on. We are going to address these issue and technologies globally."
Greg MacSweeney is editorial director of InformationWeek Financial Services, whose brands include Wall Street & Technology, Bank Systems & Technology, Advanced Trading, and Insurance & Technology. View Full Bio